Friday, June 17, 2005

McDonald's Wants A New Image?

This is unbelievable to me. McDonald's has announced a licensing and media venture for branded products like bikes and skateboards, reportedly to improve its image as promoting a healthy lifestyle for kids.

In similar news, Beachbody has announced that it will be licensing its logo to a new line of comfortably padded office cubicles, to improve the image of its customer service department.

Here's my point; If a business has an image issue, it is likely created by a product or service problem. Don't fix the image - fix the problem. Morgan Spurlock's brilliant film Supersize Me, showed how McDonald's may be guilty of promoting a menu that is not all that healthy for you if it is the majority of your diet. And while the demonstration in that film is extreme, it shows how society's expectation of a company changes as it goes from being an interesting success story to a behemoth with massive distribution. It is so massive now, that McDonald's has inherited an additional social responsibility. And that's the way it goes. So be socially responsible! Point the business, and the society you serve, in a positive direction!

The opportunity to contribute to the world and make a profit with that fantastic McDonald's distribution system is amazing. Now is not the time to make a simple symbolic gesture about living a healthy lifestyle. Making us dig into the McDonald's website for nutrition information is not a solution, and hiring an author to help educate people about nutrition is not dealing with the issue head-on. McDonald's needs to apply courageous, visible creativity to the store and menu option, or in other words -- actually show that McDonald's cares about the health of its customers by inverting the menu, and making it easier to find health than it is to find trans fat.

That's how you get back to being a welcome neighbor on so many thousands of street corners across the world.

Actively help the customer know which foods are healthiest. Train your staff (which will help them live a healthier lifestyle as well) and present those healthy options as colorfully and prominently as the fried stuff and burgers. Help us shift from thinking of McDonald's as the evil food empire to a valued food supplier that cares about us. If McDonald's would help me sell my daughter on ordering something called a "Kids Mighty Meal" filled with "Orange Princess" mini-carrots, "Cherry Bomb" tomatoes, and a soy-veggie patty called a "Beach Burger" packaged in colorful game-themed wrapping with contests, quizzes, and jokes that would be as fun as the junk, I would pull through as often as she wanted. Instead when I am driving near a McDonald's at lunch time I am hoping she'll look the other way. Why is that not obvious to this company and its franchisees?

How about an actual weight loss plan, available at McDonald's, where they support their community in banding together to lose weight and eat more healthy? Instead of making people figure out how to construct a 400 calorie meal from their menu, McDonald's could do it for you, right there, with healthy food options. Lay it out for us! Help your community solve the obesity problem.

I can't even imagine the power that brand would wield if they played for the long term benefit of its customers - and ultimately EVERYONE would win. And the other fast food companies would have to follow.

I am not saying take everything else off the menu - just advocate the healthy options as creatively as you push the other stuff. Frankly, Beachbody would find a way to help promote such a move by McDonald's in our weight loss product information and maybe even our $50 million a year in TV advertising. It would help everyone because it would be so convenient when it comes to healthy food planning that the results from our fitness programs would be that much more achievable. Instead, Beachbody has to give advice to its customers as to why people should avoid McDonald's. Too bad. No company's perfect, but the potential is so clear.

As for the business of Beachbody, we've got our own "image issues" too, and we try to address them directly. Logistics and customer service all need constant refinement and improvement to keep up with our fast growth. We don't fade from the hard work and look at a distant way to "appear like we care". We genuinely care. We accept the responsibility. And in order to find the long term solution, we are constantly testing and investing in solutions.

Maybe McDonald's management will approach their menu that way some day by dealing directly with the problem, not just the image. As a consumer, parent, and human being, I hope so.


Anonymous said...

Hi Carl,

First of all, Happy Father's Day to you, Jon and all the fathers at Beachbody. Thank you for all the wonderful and effective products you offer to us and the improving quality of service.

BTW, I posted the following under your very first blog post but I'm anxious you might overlook it since it the blog post was dated May 25. So I decided to post it here. Hopefully, you will be able to read it. Thanks.

I'm Fit1 at the BB forums. I posted the following under the forum Fitness Systems and got several positive replies to my suggestion. I hope you read it as well as I am sure a good number of consumers would also agree:

The thread title is:

Please Bring Back the One Payment/3 Month Payment Schemes

A year ago I remember buying Power 90 using the 3 month payment option which I just click online. However, I don't see such an option now. All I see is the "introductory program" which automatically renews you and sends you a new DVD every 2 months or so.

I personally feel we should have the option to choose and pay for:
1. one payment for the complete kit
2. 3 month payments for the complete kit
3. "introductory program"

What I don't like about the intro program is I also have to pay additional S&H plus tax for every new shipment of DVD. I would rather buy the complete set and pay the S&H plus CA tax (since I live in CA) all at one time. If I am not interested in the program, I could just return the entire kit within 30 days (less S&H and CA tax). I believe this was the system before right? So I really hope you would give us, the consumer, choices on the payment options. I really hope you would consider my suggestion as I am sure others would surely appreciate it. Thanks for reading!

8:42 AM

Mary Cecy said...

Carl, hope working out with Ava was fun. I enjoyed having you and Jon and everyone else in WOWY. Tons of fun! About McD, I don't listen to it anymore. I have been teaching my children to make good options, even when someone else wants to get them McD. They choose the fruit salad, the regular salads, yes they do like the dumb toys that you can buy separately for a lesser price, but if you replace the fries and the soda, you are set. Burger and nuggets are not the best options. But that is what they are OPTIONS. Many opt for the convenience instead of going home and making a healthier version of McD, because they are too busy, or it takes too much time. Do people know how much fun it is to cook with your kids in the kitchen? Cecy, my 10 yr old loves fruit and veggies. She is the "chef" when it comes to making fruit salads and my stir fries. She knows what mom wants to eat and what she is going to say no to. All about options. Besides, my burgers and nuggets are WAY much better than McD. And I can make more for the same price.

Thanks for not supporting a company that has provided a Heart Attack in a bun.

Carl Daikeler said...

"Anonymous" thanks for the feedback -- we're looking at all the order options, however we've been finding that simplicity, and the option to try it cheap before you buy it is more appealing than the prio offer. But I assure you, we're testing/considering everything you described.

Mary -- That's cool about your approach to cooking. I have never been a big cook, so the restaurant options are where I get most of my meals. I really don't see McDonald's as some inherently bad thing. Like you said, they have options on their menu. It's up to me to show restraint. I just wish they would market the good stuff as creatively as the stuff that's not so good.

As always, I love the positive feedback from you!


mermandrea said...

About a year ago McD's sold their big salads with a pedometer. Don't see them pushing that stuff so much now.

Probably didn't catch on... their regulars don't care about that... and those that are careful about food didn't pay attention...

They're about profit... they won't do THAT again I'm sure.

I do love the yogurt parfait w/fruit... and the fruit plate is not bad when I'm in a pinch for a meal.

gigiluvsme said...

hi there, I'm gigiluvsme on and Anyways, ever since I saw SuperSize Me, I refuse to go into a McDonalds' restaurant. I want you to know also that BB has the BEST products on the market and I love your payment plan.. $19.95 is really easy for me to swallow every month, plus I get really excited when I find another 1 of your great videos on my doorstep! It makes me want to hurry up and rip open the package and push PLAY and I know that is the key and goal here.

Ever since finding BB, my husband and I have adopted a much healthier lifestyle and we really have the desire and the drive to finally get our butts back into the shape we once were. I've ordered your supplements and I just LOVE the Activit, by the way. I really want to thank you for the spectacular variety of videos that you bring to BB and the Customer Service staff (Chat) are the BOMB!! They are so nice. I had a conversation with Gerren and he was VERY HELPFUL. I told him that I would be sure I told you!! :0) Anyways, keep on bringing us more products. P.S. I have my family members hooked on your products now! I have 2 family members doing SI6 and 1 besides myself doing P90!!! I'm not finished there though.. I'm always sending success stories links to my family and friends showing them the results your products deliver and what they can achieve by pushing play and following Tony & Debbie & Kathy too!! :0)
P.S. My goal is to one day win one of your FABULOUS Beach Body trips! Boy, if that's not an incentive, I don't know what is!! Thanks again!!

Anonymous said...

I was really frustrated with the my original order taking over a month to get. No one told me it was back ordered, no letter, phone call or email. I called after 2 weeks because I started on a healthy eating program and wanted to exercise too. I wonder if you offered the web support for free if you would not make up for the loss of the revenue stream by longer retention and therefore more supplement sales as well as DVD sales? Just a thought

kprekel said...

I was extrememly happy about my order experience. I also wanted to order in one order and the live chat customer service person said that was definitely an option. Ask and you shall receive.

Anonymous said...

As far as McDonalds goes, I don't see why they "have" to change their menu to make it easier to get healthy choices. McDonalds has never marketed themselves as a place to go get healthy meals. For instance, ice cream is a fatty food, should Dairy Queen have to change their recipe because their icecream is popular? If you go to a junk food restaurant, expect to get junk food. I don't think it's right to tell people who want to eat junk food that we've decided for their own health, that it shouldn't be available to them.

Carl Daikeler said...

I agree with you - in fact I am not advocating taking food off the market. I am pointing out that, for this company to seek a PR and licensing campaign to position itself as supportive of a wholesome/healthy lifestyle for kids, it should start with the adding creativity to the way it approaches the menu. I have never seen Dairy Queen positioning itself as anything but a place for some gratification or a fast-food meal when you are in the mood for a treat. I actually think they are pretty appropriate in their approach. At the same time, McDonald's has a much broader footprint - their presence is everywhere, and there is a measure of increased social responsibility when you are on every street corner. Isn't it reasonable that a company with so many locations take a look at its impact on the hman condition?

Anonymous said...

Beach Body
ATTN: Carl Daikeler, CEO
3340 Ocean Park Blvd., Suite 3030
Santa Monica CA 90405

Mr. Daikeler,

While I certainly appreciate the fact that you consider health and fitness an essential part of our life, your product, "Beach Booty Ballet" is a vile and detestable item.

Are you aware that Yoga is a ritual of Hinduism, a vile and wicked religion that has devastated India? The last time I checked, they were practicing the following horrible practices:
1. Cattle worship
2. Killing of live widows on their husband's funeral pyres.
3. Selling their infant daughters into prostitution.
4. The practice of drinking rat urine as well as worshipping rats.

Is this a religion for which your company would like to be associated with and is this something you want to infect the US with? I think not.

You should reconsider your product line carefully.

A concerned citizen.

Carl Daikeler said...

I appreciate the concerns outlined in your post, and I think you should absolutely only do exercises or participate in group activities that make you comfortable. I really do support you in committing to your belief system, and hope you give your brothers and sisters the freedom to choose theirs. This is where my trust in God's will comes in: My job isn't to second guess God's will, or think that God missed a detail here and there. My only job is to manage my behavior as I experience God's will.

My personal perspective is this; no matter what your political, religious, or animal husbandry beliefs, I don't know that I would link a form of movement to the ideology and limit myself from the benefits of that form of movement. For instance, I would imagine there are members of al Qaeda who do push-ups. Their actions are despicable. But I'm still going to do push-ups.

There's a ritual I have on Sunday of doing a cardio workout like biking or swimming, preceded by 20 mins of yoga for a low-impact warm-up that also improves my flexibility. It also seems to help tighten the muscles that protect my ankles, which are notoriously weak.

The yoga felt peaceful and healthy. I highly recommend it. I think people who try it will be okay. And I truly believe anyone who does Yoga Booty Ballet will have fun, get healthy, and burn off a lot of calories.

I imagine, however, if we do find clear evidence linking an increase in cattle worship within the Beachbody community to our marketing of Yoga Booty Ballet, we will discontinue the item, and immediately issue a warning to cows, widows, and rats.