Jung 1 Dae Yong Jung Dr. Gary Simons ENC 1101 October 23, 2008 Luscious McDonald’s Have you ever related eating a McDonald’s hamburger to being “sexy”? Have you ever seen a “sexy” McDonald’s advertisement? If your answer is no, consider viewing the McDonald’s Quarter Pounder advertisement in China. The typical Western viewer will be astonished at the suggestive scenes and messages when one translates them into English-- “You can feel it. Thicker. Taste it. Juicier.” Considering the preconception that Chinese are more conservative than Westerners, it’s an eye opening insight into Chinese culture and exemplifies how the advertising industry deliberately manipulates consumer culture. However, if this advertisement was aired in the United States, it could have failed dramatically. According to Gregg Cebrzynski, “What passes for acceptable advertising in China and Japan would be ruinous to the brand in the U.S. if McDonald's got sexy in domestic advertising.” Evidently, different approaches are used to appeal to consumers of distinct cultural backgrounds. The McDonald’s Quarter Pounder advertisement in China incorporates sexual appeal to seduce consumers. “There is a lot of finger sucking, lip licking, lascivious glances, slow-motion eating and it contains a moment of simulated orgasms,” says Gregg Cebrzynski of Nation's Restaurant News, a weekly magazine which publishes articles and trends in the restaurant and food service industries. As seen in Figure 1 (Next page), the woman licks her mouth and sucks her fingers with a lewd facial expression. In this scene, the black and white background gives an enigmatic aura which is in contrast with the McDonald’s logo. The colorful displays that follow Jung 2 suggest the cells being rejuvenated and in Figure 2, the man and woman embrace and swirl around in pleasure after eating a Quarter Pounder. The red and yellow colors of the two bodies show that their body temperatures are extremely hot, suggesting sexual arousal. The yellow McDonald’s logo in the left hand corner Fig.1 “Finger sucking, lip licking” advertisement invokes ethos. It represents McDonald’s as an authoritative figure, which seems to guarantee the Quarter Pounder’s effects. Moreover, it helps the viewer to be constantly, but unconsciously, aware that it is a McDonald’s hamburger which is causing all this luscious action. Fig.2 Stimulation after eating a Quarter Pounder This advertisement has targeted the new Chinese consumers, some of who revere Western food and culture. It shows how the culture has changed in China. In the past, the Chinese people did not have enough opportunities to interact freely with the Western world. However, after the Chinese government started opening up its markets to foreign investors and multinational companies, an increasing amount of Western culture seeped into the once conservative and traditional Chinese culture. Now, Shanghai, a major center of commerce, is just like Tokyo or any other Asian metropolis with busy streets and advertisements. It is not only the Jung 3 outward appearance that has changed, but also the minds of the people. People are accumulating more wealth and have more spending power than they did in the past. Sexual desires are no longer something to be concealed but are being increasingly discussed publicly and consequently, more young adults are exposed to sexual advertisements than in the past. In China, McDonald’s is still a new, trendy restaurant. As quoted by Fairclough, Gary Rosen, McDonald's chief marketing and corporate affairs officer in China, maintains that McDonald’s symbolizes the West and "[P]eople want McDonald's to be a Western brand, when people come to us, they want an alternative to what they can get everywhere else.” McDonalds takes advantage of this idea and makes the consumers feel that eating McDonalds’ burgers will make them be trendier. In addition to the Western influence, the advertisement meticulously uses “the traditional Chinese views that eating beef boosts energy and heightens sex appeal” according to Gordon Fairclough and Janet Adamy of the Wall Street Journal. Many men in China eat beef to keep their stamina and the advertisement tries to lure them to McDonald’s and to have a Quarter pounder. “The word "beef" in Chinese has connotations of manliness, strength and skill.” (Fairclough). In China, beef is a luxurious meat compared to chicken or pork because it is expensive. McDonald’s uses this “upscale image” as well as traditional beliefs to sell their product. In the United States, where there are more suggestive alcoholic beverage and cigarette advertisements, McDonald’s ads are more focused on the quality and taste of the food. Although they also invoke pathos, McDonald’s advertisements do not have suggestive contents because of McDonald’s strategy “as a family-values chain that encourages healthful eating and exercise and loves its customers so much that it puts their faces on packaging.”(Cebrzynski) As seen in the video clip of the Southern Style Chicken Biscuit Sandwich commercial in Figure 3, the father is Jung 4 enjoying his time with his son on his shoulders and a Chicken Biscuit Sandwich in his hand. Other scenes in the same advertisement show young people of various backgrounds in order to reach out to a diverse population and also to convey the message of “non-conformity”. The Fig.3 Southern Style Chicken Biscuit advertisement also invokes the rhetorical Sandwich commercial- Father and son strategy, logos, by explaining that the sandwich is “perfectly seasoned” has “juicy white meat”, and is served on a “warm and fluffy” biscuit. A similar message is also found in other advertisements such as the Spicy Chicken Sandwich commercial (not shown), which attempts to make the consumer feel that he or she is special by eating the new unique and tasty McDonald’s sandwich. Apparently, none of the fast food behemoth’s commercials in the U.S. are “sexy,” due to the different cultural trends between the two countries. The global trend in developed countries is to pursue a healthy lifestyle with clean and organic food and sufficient exercise. An increasing number of people have changed their daily eating patterns by reducing the intake of meat and eating more vegetables and other natural foods than processed foods. Even fast food brands have included “fresh and healthy” salads to their menu to keep up with this trend. In the U.S., companies like McDonald’s, which need to convey that their brand is healthy, try to make their commercials entertaining and energetic. Failing to do so could put the company at risk. When Checkers Drive-in Restaurants and its chain Rally's Hamburgers used sexual appeal a few years ago, it turned out to be a complete failure (Cebrzynski). Jung 5 Although the advertisements in the two cultures use different methods to sell their products, there is also a universal factor that all advertisements have—the purpose of fulfilling the consumer’s needs. The “sexy” advertisements fulfill the Chinese consumers’ lust and their desire to embrace Western culture; the Southern Style Chicken Biscuit advertisement conforms to the ideals and values of American families, and fulfill the desire to be unique at the same time. They both emotionally appeal to the consumer and try to convince the consumer to buy their product. Advertisements of the same company approach the consumer using different strategies in various cultures. Even McDonald’s, one of the world’s largest fast food chains with tremendous brand power, does not use one strategy to target the whole world. Although multinational companies like McDonald’s may seem two-faced, consumers must be targeted according to their values, trends and needs to succeed. “The way for global brands to become successful in this booming market is to understand Chinese consumers from the inside out rather than from a distant Western perspective.” said Moa Hellstrom in “Marketing Week”. In this era of never ending competition, where no single corporation can reign as number one forever, advertisements tailored to consumers’ tastes are crucial in captivating their minds, and of course, their money. Jung 6 Works Cited Cebrzynski, Gregg. "Here's something you don't see every day: a sexy McDonald's ad. " Nation's Restaurant News 16 Oct. 2006: 20. ABI/INFORM Global. ProQuest. University of South Florida Libraries, Tampa, FL. 11 Oct. 2008 <http://www.proquest.com/> Fairclough, Gordon and Janet Adamy. "Sex, Skin, Fireworks, Licked Fingers -- It's a Quarter Pounder Ad in China. " Wall Street Journal [New York, N.Y.] 21 Sep. 2006, Eastern edition: B.1. ABI/INFORM Global. ProQuest. University of South Florida Libraries, Tampa, FL. 12 Oct. 2008 <http://www.proquest.com/> Hellstrom, Moa. "CHINA: A second cultural revolution. " Marketing Week 21 Aug. 2008: 28- 29. ABI/INFORM Global. ProQuest. University of South Florida Libraries, Tampa, FL. 12 Oct. 2008 <http://www.proquest.com/> McDonald's commercial is spot on. 20 Jun. 2008. Flash video format. 10 Oct. 2008 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbUN3M5iy1Y> McDonalds I'm Spicy Commercial in Atlanta.14 Jul. 2008. Flash video format. 10 Oct. 2008 <http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=ybvdhjpIfnA&feature=related> Mcdonalds Quarter Pounder. 22 Sep. 2008. Flash video format. 10 Oct. 2008 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVMyGlz8U54> Jung 7 Annotated Bibliography Cebrzynski, Gregg. "Here's something you don't see every day: a sexy McDonald's ad. " Nation's Restaurant News 16 Oct. 2006: 20. ABI/INFORM Global. ProQuest. University of South Florida Libraries, Tampa, FL. 11 Oct. 2008 <http://www.proquest.com/> Gregg Cebrzynski, a renowned writer of the Nation’s Restaurant News, explains the “sexy” advertising strategy of McDonald’s. He meticulously exposes the mindset behind this strategy. Cebrzynski also compares McDonald’s Quarter Pounder advertisement to its American counterparts, arguing that a sexy advertisement would be a complete failure in the United States. According to Cebrzynski, a McDonald’s adverstisement with sexual appeal would damage its image as a “family chain.” Fairclough, Gordon and Janet Adamy. "Sex, Skin, Fireworks, Licked Fingers -- It's a Quarter Pounder Ad in China. " Wall Street Journal [New York, N.Y.] 21 Sep. 2006, Eastern edition: B.1. ABI/INFORM Global. ProQuest. University of South Florida Libraries, Tampa, FL. 12 Oct. 2008 <http://www.proquest.com/> In this article published in the Wall Street Journal, Gordon Fairclough and Janet Adamy uncover McDonald’s strategy in China. Based on the Quarter Pounder advertisement which was aired in 2006, Fairclough and Adamy explain how McDonald’s is positioning itself in the vast Chinese market. Instead of the localization tactics it used previously and also used by competing companies, McDonald’s has started to emphasize its original “American roots.” It shows McDonald’s efforts in increasing its beef sales in China, which is only 35% of the total sales Jung 8 through an interview of Jeffrey Schwartz, the chief executive of McDonald's China operations. Hellstrom, Moa. "CHINA: A second cultural revolution. " Marketing Week 21 Aug. 2008: 28- 29. ABI/INFORM Global. ProQuest. University of South Florida Libraries, Tampa, FL. 12 Oct. 2008 <http://www.proquest.com/> Moa Hellstrom, the Brand Strategy Planner at HuntHaggarty, unravels the changing consumer culture of China in this article of the Marketing Week. She explains how quickly the Chinese have taken in Western culture, making it a part of their lives. She stresses that global brands must understand the consumers from a Chinese point of view rather than a Western view to succeed in China. According to Hellstrom, the Chinese youth “who closely follow fashion, design and lifestyle trends from Japan and the West, combining these aspirational influences with a great sense of national pride,” must be well understood especially in China. McDonald's commercial is spot on. 20 Jun. 2008. Flash video format. 10 Oct. 2008 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbUN3M5iy1Y> This advertisement aired in the United States uses people from various backgrounds as models, targeting the whole country with its diverse population. It has a bright, energetic and friendly mood which gives a healthy feeling. The advertisement also features a family enjoying their time with a Southern Style Chicken Biscuit Sandwich in the father’s hands. It introduces a new product with the message, “non-conformity”. Jung 9 McDonalds I'm Spicy Commercial in Atlanta.14 Jul. 2008. Flash video format. 10 Oct. 2008 <http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=ybvdhjpIfnA&feature=related> This advertisement of McDonald’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich was aired in Atlanta and features several young people who are “special” because they enjoy the new sandwich from McDonald’s. It has a bright and energetic mood and all the models in the advertisement seem to be teenagers or college students, creating a young and fresh atmosphere. McDonalds Quarter Pounder. 22 Sep. 2008. Flash video format. 10 Oct. 2008 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVMyGlz8U54> The Chinese McDonald’s Quarter Pounder advertisement aired in 2006 has many suggestive scenes that even simulate an orgasm. The black and white background gives a mysterious atmosphere to the advertisement and is in contrast with the McDonald’s hamburger and logo. After both the man and woman eat the hamburger, their bodies seem to become stronger and when the man embraces the woman and swirls her around, their bodies are red and yellow, suggesting that they are both sexually aroused because of the Quarter Pounder.