McDonald's is Trying to Remake Its Image Into Not-Horse-Leavings

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Hot on the heels of Taco Bell's attempts to go upscale with their US Taco Co. and Urban Taproom, McDonald's is attempting to rebrand itself so it will no longer be side-eyed even by scrapple lovers.


McDonald's recently hosted a dinner where celebrity chefs who will have to live with the fact that they did this for the rest of their careers attempted to prepare haute cuisine using McDonald's ingredients:

A Kung Pao chicken appetizer was made with Chicken McNuggets doused in sweet and sour sauce and garnished with parsley. Slow-cooked beef was served with gnocchi fashioned out of McDonald's french fries and a fruit sauce from its smoothie mix. For dessert, its biscuit mix was used to make a pumpkin spice "biznut," a biscuit-doughnut hybrid.

I was going to come up with fake versions of dishes they could've served as part of this, but honestly, nothing I come up with could possibly be more ridiculous than what they already did.

The event was billed as "A transforming dining experience of 'fast food' to 'good food served fast,'" which is really just a creative way to say "a transformation of 'shit' into 'fancier shit that is still shit.'" It's part of the larger trend of McDonald's attempts to remake itself into something other than what it clearly is.


Second: look, McDonald's, you're not fooling anyone. We know your food tastes like the stuff scraped off the factory floor in Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. You can try to upscale all you like, but you're still going to be the place where they sell heroin at the drive-thru. We all know you're just putting glitter on a pimple.


All of this is ultimately a mask for McDonald's failing sales — the company's stock has been plummeting and their profit margins aren't growing nearly as well as they were even five years ago. But what the company hasn't caught on to is the fact that people are always going to see McDonald's as McDonald's. They seem to be under the misapprehension that WE'RE the ones who created this image of them as the high-cost alternative to dumpster diving:

"We're going to start really, really telling our story in a much more proactive manner," said Kevin Newell, U.S. brand and strategy officer for McDonald's said late last year.

He added that McDonald's has gone too long in "letting other folks frame the story for us."


You do that, Kev. Should give me some GREAT material.

Image via bikeworldtravel/Shutterstock.


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Ridiculous. Brand movement is one-way: down. Going upscale once people perceive you as mass market is for all practical purposes impossible. There's a reason Toyota, et al. created separate luxury brands instead of selling their luxury vehicles under their existing mark.

McDonalds is one the biggest, most well-known brands in the world. The fact that some people there honestly think they can rebrand themselves is a reflection of how out-of-touch the company has become. Improve the food if you want (like Dominos tried to do), but you're always going to be McDonalds.