Last night I happened upon this link through a friends facebook feed. Not being greatly invested in the media furore surrounding next years Olympics the reality that McDonalds is the Official Restaurant of the Olympics – and has been actually for the last 9 years (eek!) – had largely passed me by.
Except for this advert which makes reference to the sponsorship deal (and incidentally irritates me hugely on every view) I just hadn’t really thought about it. I find the PR slant on provenance and sustainability in this just transparent and seems to follow a fairly formulaic strategy many companies are employing at the moment. Ah! You have anticipated what we the british middle class need to give ourselves permission to eat this rubbish. 100% beef! In a beefburger – oh but you spoil us! Free range eggs! I mean we know your hands were forced when it became socially unacceptable to use battery hens any longer and you haven't used them all the time, But good on you! Cooking oil in your vehicles? Oh so sustainable! You're not doing it and it's costing you money though are you? Phew! Those rumours that the food you serve is junk are simply that. This advert eliminates all our fears.
Immediately though as regards this official restaurant business I just couldn’t see any real and meaningful link between the Olympics, which upholds the ideals of excelling human, physical endeavour and health alongside the dross processed fast food that McDonalds restaurants fry and then hand out day in day out to the Great British Public and all over the world. I threw it out there to the twittersphere. I can’t be the only person who thinks the idea is wrong.
What a suprise. I'm not and it was RT'd over and over and over (and still is)
It’s obviously money plain and simple. Just economics. They provide the cash, put their money where the mouths are and not only do they sell a huge amount of McDonalds but their product becomes inherently linked to the ultimate values of the event, optimal physicality and excellence. A marketing boon. Inappropriate?
The main reason I don’t think that they are a natural choice to associate with the Olympics is really quite simple. For me, It comes down to the fact their food doesn’t decompose properly, not in the way ‘real’ food should and does. Most of the product that they sell is so overly and obviously processed. It looks plastic. Seriously, this means our body is working overtime to digest that stuff, meaning it’s more trouble than it’s worth. To be properly nutritional, we know intuitively that food should feed us and efficiently provide us with energy. Intuitively then to me this food is no good. I don’t eat it and my children won’t be eating it. It’s not the food of those hoping to be in peak physical condition. Just as I wouldn’t expect beer to be the official drink of the Olympics I don’t expect fast food to be the official food. Even despite what Usain Bolt said about his Olympic success and chicken nuggets. To have been a fly on the wall in the PR dept when news flew in he had said this! It must have been a happy happy day.
I don't know enough about calories and the effects of basal metabolic rate on burning calories you consume. I'm more of the school of thought that green is good. Natural is good. As unprocessed as possible most of the time is what you're ultimately aiming for. Therefore my main argument isn't about the saturated fats, the calories. There are plenty of qualified nutritionists that will argue those against fast food. My thinking really is that I have an aversion to food that looks the same weeks later.
We’re living in a world where child and adult obesity is rising due to a great number of factors – primarily (obviously) food consumed but then education on nutrition factors into it as well as lack of exercise, so arguably TV and video come into it. There are also huge amounts of nutritionally compromised foods available now in the form of sweets, chocolates and processed foods. So many things to consider. But this rise is also alongside the expansion over the last few decades of a fast food culture. This cannot be incidental. There’s a correlation for sure. If revenue rose 9% for McDonalds last year it’s because more people are eating McDonalds. Or if that’s not the case you can safely say that it’s because more McDonalds are being eaten. And ok, so McDonalds isn't accountable for all fast food by any means but it's a big player.
Simply by being big enough, let’s face it, massively global and with access to the capital for sizeable investment they have bought themselves the rights to a 2 floor super size restaurant in the Olympic village that is anticipated to serve 14 million meals over the Olympic period. Although there will be other options to consume overall this one player will account for 1 in 5 of the ‘meals’ sold! And they are the only branded food retailer feeding ATHLETES! They are not doing this to support Olympian spirit. This is worth BIG BUCK BUCK BUCKS.
This won’t change either, this farcical, nonsensical arrangement will continue because it has to. Without that type of investment the Olympics would flounder, sports clubs around the country wouldn’t receive funding. It's played cleverly for sure. I have no alternative - no spare millions in the bank to work out the deficit. I just don't think they should be allowed to associate with the olympics.
I loved the twitter comments from those who agreed. Alarm at the word restaurant being used to describe their outlets (perfectly justified though, check the definition) and horror at the very idea. Was good to know I am not alone in my confusion and disbelief.