Saving the Earth, One Big Mac at a Time

In Japan, McDonald’s is offering half-priced Big Macs to anyone willing to commit (vaguely) to fighting global warming. Here’s the story:

Half-price Big Mac to fight global warming proves big hit in Japan

A Japanese government website crashed Wednesday as people raced to take up an offer of a half-price McDonald’s hamburger in exchange for pledging to fight global warming.
The Japanese unit of the US burger giant Tuesday offered a Big Mac for 150 yen (1.3 dollars), about half the normal price, to anyone demonstrating a commitment to preventing climate change.

People were asked to check up to 39 boxes on a form they could download from the environment ministry’s website, each listing a way of reducing carbon dioxide emissions blamed for global warming.

A couple of quick points, in no particular order, mostly things I’ve said before on related topics:
1) Is this the height of corporate good-doing? Obviously not. It may be well intentioned (who knows?) but it’s also a loss-leader to get more people through the doors of their local McD’s. Does that utterly deflate the program? Not in my books, given the number of alternative methods McDonald’s could use to attract customers. Seems to me that socially-constructive marketing is better than, say, hiring Britney Spears to sing a jingle.
2) Is McDonald’s jumping on a band-wagon? Sure. Global warming is kinda a big deal these days. But again, not clear there’s anything wrong with this particular band-wagon. And even if the global warming skeptics are right, the sorts of behaviours being promoted by this program are quite likely to have good effects in general. Energy conservation is pretty clearly a good idea, regardless.
3) Yes, I see the irony of using Big Macs (widely credited, rightly or wrongly, with deforesting big chunks of South American and hence contributing to global warming) to fight global warming. Hell, it might be beyond ironic. It might actually be counter-productive. But that depends on the effectiveness of the awareness-raising effort. Some data on that sort of thing would be good.

Thanks to Andrew for the heads-up.

1 comment so far

  1. […] McDonald’s (#12), not surprisingly, has made a couple of appearances. It appeared in a blog entry on “Trans-fats vs. Genetically Modified Foods”, as well as “Saving the Earth, One Big Mac at a Time”. […]

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