Critical Paper - Strategic Communications

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Critical Paper

I chose option A: media critique for this assignment and I will be discussing a poorly executed outdoor advertisement by McDonalds. The overused cliché of “timing is everything” could not be clearer with the two opposing ads that I will be discussing in further detail. I came across these opposing print ads on the website The ad on top states “Childhood obesity. Don’t take it lightly.” The bottom portion of the ad also states “Food Stamps can help. Call 1-888-328-3483 to see if you qualify.” The ad also shows an African America doctor or nurse with her white coat on and a stethoscope around her neck. The text of the ad is placed right next to her mouth and I got the impression it was intended to look as though she is speaking directly to you about childhood obesity. I called the 1-888 telephone number on the billboard advertisement and found that it is the Healthy California Information Line. The background color is a dark blue and it has a somber feeling to it. The health care professional’s facial expression is one of seriousness and if this advertisement were a radio commercial I can envision her speaking in a stern tone. After I analyzed this ad I wondered why they used an African American health professional and then remembered from my nutrition class how children of color are more likely than white children to become obese. I also wondered if this ad was placed

2 in a community primarily occupied by people of color. The fact that it stated how food stamps can help also led me to believe that this was placed in a low-income area. Directly below this advertisement is a McDonalds advertisement for their dollar menu. This advertisement portrays a woman who appears to be in her late 20s or early 30s and is holding up two bags of food from McDonalds. Towards the upper left hand corner is McDonalds’ slogan “I’m lovin’ it.” The text of this ad states “my kinda shoppin’ spree” and has a picture of a hamburger, ice cream sundae and French fries. The background color is bright green and a majority of the text is in white lettering. It has a fun and playful feeling to it with the bright colors. One that implies if you go to McDonalds you can get a lot of food at a cheap price. When I think about the placement of both ads appearing together, I cannot help but wonder what was the Viacom Account Executive thinking when he or she decided to place these two ads together. At a minimum I found I found the placement of these two ads together to be in poor taste. If I lived in the neighborhood where these appeared I would find it offensive.
The obesity ad is intended to inform the local community about the importance of eating healthy fruits and vegetables. While the McDonalds ad is targeting some of the very foods that are causing the obesity problem. For people of limited means this may appear to be a bargain. However, the health consequences of eating such foods can be severe. Simply put, if I were in a management position at Viacom I would send out a public apology to the local community where these advertisements were placed. I would talk about how it was in very poor taste to discredit such an important message geared towards promoting health. In my opinion it would be as distasteful as having an alcohol advertisement