McDonald’s Breakfast Won’t Blow Your Mind
Levels of stress have been increasing globally for the past few decades. Just three years ago, Mathew L. Hunt, Aaron W. Hughey, and Monica G. Burke, who are professors at the University of Kentucky, wrote the article “Stress and Violence in the Workplace and on a Campus.” In it, they stated that “Over the last half-century, the global community has experienced immense changes, including extended work hours which has led to heightened anxiety levels” (44). A particularly alarming symptom of this anxiety is violence and aggression in the workplace. With the increasing demands at work, young men in particular are causing commotions in the workplace (Hunt et al., 47). In 2013 McDonald’s released a stereotypical advertisement that promoted awareness of this issue while endorsing their breakfast menu. McDonald’s promoted this campaign in hopes of increasing their sales, by not only bringing awareness to violence in the workplace, but also by reaching across different audiences.
The McDonald’s “Leave Your Morning Mood Behind” campaign was executed by DDB Tribal, an ad agency based in Vienna, Austria. Peter Mayer and Mike Nagy directed the movement with the help of creative director Lukas Grossebner (Young 1). They depicted a figure centered in an office setting. The character represents a typical young male office worker; however, he is composed of rockets and explosives. He is wearing a blue button-down shirt with a navy blue tie, green khaki pants, a silver watch on his left wrist and a pair of brown Sperry’s on his feet. His blue shirt is rolled up past his elbows, revealing his arms, which are made up of rockets. His hands are balled up, as if he is angry or frustrated. Additionally, rockets are poking up against his clothing, suggesting that they may explode at any moment. The advertisement insinuates that McDonald’s breakfast can improve the workers’ mood.
The figure in this advertisement is not quite human, but rather a humanoid. While the figure resembles the appearance of a young male, he is composed of explosive rockets. The humanoid is standing in the middle of the room with his fists balled up, his shoulders hunched and his head tilted down towards the ground. This stance suggests that he is angry or frustrated, which are feelings that dehumanize him. With the increasing demands in the workplace, it is very likely that the humanoid is angry because of work. A recent study conducted by Robert Ostermann, a professor of psychology at Farleigh Dickinson University, found that office workers are more likely to experience stress and anger due to interpersonal relationships within the workplace (Maxon 1). With tensions between team members running high and unclear supervision from the boss, it is quite reasonable for someone to become anxious or upset. “For many people the core of their social life is the people with whom they work,” explains Ostermann. “But work is not a social situation, so you begin to get some things that are antagonist to good relationships, such as rumors and power plays among executives who are competing for the next promotion” (Maxon 1). So instead of working as a whole unit, employees compete against each other and start feuds amongst themselves. Eventually, the tension between staff members becomes so great that someone is destined to snap.
McDonald’s acknowledges the workplace as a site for potential violence and offers a solution to this problem. In the bottom right hand corner of the ad in white letters is the slogan “Leave your morning mood behind.” Right next to that is the McDonald’s logo with the saying “easy morning” underneath: a small yellow sun is shining through the “o” in the word “morning.” Since mornings are considered the time when people may feel their worst, the sun is insinuating that McDonald’s breakfast can brighten one’s day and improve their mood. Nowadays, many adults would