Monday, May 11, 2009

These New Commercials Already Get on My Nervés

If you've watched any TV at all recently, you've probably seen the commercials for McDonald's new "McCafé" products. There are actually several of these ads out, but the one that drives me bonkers is the one which tries to show that, by snagging one of these drinks, the average working Joe or Jane can turn the daily commute into a "commuté" or a cubicle into a "cubiclé." My response? Puké. (And sometimes, to navigaté to a completely different channel.)

Does this commercial drive you as nuts as it does me, or is your tolerance for silly just a little bit higher than mine? (And, honestly, I thought I had a pretty big tolerance for silly, but this one just sets off the gag reflex in me for some reason.)

And it's been funny to read about how Mickey D's is launching these new products--and upgrading their regular brewed coffee--in an effort to "compete with Starbucks". Really? You think that's gonna work? I can point to only one segment of the customer base who might warm to this idea: Those who only use the drive-thru window and never go inside. For everyone else, it's all about atmosphere, and the atmosphere in a McDonald's is almost the polar opposite of that of a Starbucks.

Think about it for a second: A Starbucks is usually relatively quiet, save for the Frappuccino blenders, with straight-ahead jazz playing in the background more often than not. People are working on things on their laptops, playing games, maybe meeting with a Realtor or starting a new business deal. On a good day, you might even smell the baked goods up front. It's my favorite place to chill with friends or read a magazine or newspaper, and that atmosphere is a big part of the overall package.

Now let's contrast that with the average McOonald's: The first word that comes to mind is "loud." Think of a noisy kitchen, big long lines on occasion, and the constant squeals of kids (should you happen to sit too close to the McPlayland). If I wanted a quick breakfast, or a place to bring the (theoretical) kids for a while, this would be the perfect atmosphere for that. But in terms of a place where I'd want to chill and read for 30 minutes to an hour, meet with business associates, or hang with friends? Not so much.

But again, my main beef (pun slightly intended) with McDonald's is this ad campaign. Obviously, advertising is supposed to make the viewer want to buy something, but occasionally it backfires and actually produces the opposite effect. For me, this is one of those campaigns. (Longtime Dallasites might remember the old Westway Ford commercials and their "Joe Greed" character, the obnoxious cowboy in oversized boots; that's another one that made me turn away instantly. But the rapping car salesmen of Trophy Nissan always got a laugh from me no matter how many times I saw the spot.)

Do you have a least-favorite commercial--one that completely turns you away from the product being pitched? Tell me in the comments, and feel free to weigh in on the McCafé spots if you so desire.

No comments: