Promotions that involve any form of deception are deemed as unfair trade practices (Kotler et al. 2008, p493). Therefore, even if under the legal statures advertisements of such kind are allowed it is the responsibility of management and advertisement agencies to confirm to appropriate societal ethical standards. After a direct attack by “Super-Size Me” on its core business McDonald’s reverted to save its image and advocated its turnaround strategies. By dropping supersized options, introducing healthier items on menu and acquiring minority stake in Pret A Manger it tried to project its conscientious effort towards a healthier McDonald’s.
As stated in the case it launched an expensive and huge advertisement campaign: ‘McDonald’s but not as you know it’ placing billboards and visual cues in brochures including close-ups of salads and fruits. However, I side with its critics and see it as a deception strategy rooted in its advertisements. Creating only a perception of the fact that McDonald’s has become healthier so that consumers do not feel bad for eating at McDonald’s or stop their children from eating at McDonald’s. No wonder its Chicken Caesar salad tested out to have more fat and calories than its notorious hamburger. It was later that McDonald’s responded to this problem and introduced a lowered calorie salad dressing for this salad. Though the question again to consider is that if McDonald’s was actually pursuing its tall claims of healthiness how did a high fat and calorie content salad dressing make its way into their new salad offering? The answer is obvious that McDonald’s efforts were only on the perceptual level to make a fool out of its consumers through its effective Advertising and promotions mix. If it had been pursuing any serious efforts towards a healthier McDonalds at the strategic level such a blunder would have been impossible. This communicates to that McDonald’s was not monitoring its processes for calorie and fat reduction. This is why its response was reactive and not proactive towards calorie cutting.
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