The advertising tries to convince people what way of living is right or wrong, what people need to eat and what they don’t, what clothes and shoes they should wear and many other things. According to the article “Illusions are forever” by Jay Chait, the “real lies” of advertisement are hard to find. The ads usually use lies in “the representation of situations, values, belief and cultural norms”(Chait,J, 2000, October). The author tells that advertisements show people a different world, not the world they used to live in, so they try to force them to live in that “real world”.
As people see ads 24 hour-a-day, it doesn’t allow them to see things in their own way. It gives individuals the wrong imagination of how something ought to be. The author states that the media doesn’t allow people to experience naturally, spontaneously, and genuinely, and it spoils people’s capacity for some important kinds of personal “truth”. Everything that people know comes from media, because they have little direct personal knowledge of anything in the world.
A good example of Chait’s thesis is McDonald’s website which tries to show people that its company and products represent positive and sometimes idealistic values which are not true in reality.
This website advertises a lot of values among which family, togetherness, education; fresh and healthy food and healthy lifestyle; racial harmony/diversity; cleanliness; good working conditions; and career opportunities. In my opinion, the most important values which company use to manipulate people are such values as family and education, fresh and healthy food, and good career opportunities.
McDonald’s website uses a lot of different things to promote such values as family and education. To better illustrate it, McDonald’s has a separate website by the name of “Ronald McDonald House Charities”. McDonald’s is their largest corporate donor. Portions of the annual operating costs for Ronald McDonald Houses graciously fund by McDonald’s. Money which they receive from McDonald’s, they spend to help people. When opening Ronald McDonald House Charities(RMCH) website, we can see the pictures of people, for example, the family of three people: a mother, a father and their son who is sitting on a wheelchair or the example of a mother and a daughter who is kissing her mother.
These images promote family values by showing that all these people are happy together because Ronald McDonald House Charities helped them to overcome difficult times in their lives. People wrote stories about the difficult times in their lives, and they are thankful to RMCH for its help. When they had difficulties, the whole family was together to help to overcome it. For example, according to the RMCH website “Steps away from where she was getting treated, The Ronald Family Room offered a place for Itzel’s family to rest and regroup right at the hospital so they could in turn better support Itzel during her treatment.” There are also a lot of ads on this website which promote family values.
One of them is “McDonald’s New National Fundraiser Efforts Bring Families Together to Benefit Children in Need” which says “Beginning in the summer of 2010, participating McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S will donate proceeds from all daily Happy Meal and Mighty Kids Meals sales to Ronald McDonald House Charities, McDonald’s “Charity of Choice”, benefitting thousands of children and their families every day. This initiative will continue through 2012.”
Beside this, McDonald’s website has an interesting subsection for kids which is called “McDonalds Happy Meal” under M Websites, where kids can play games, find a lot of information which educates them. For example, when kids go to “McDonalds’ Happy Meal” subsection, they can go to “Ferris and Friends” which allows them to print out the pages which have puzzles, quizzes, and coloring. It helps kids to have fun while doing quizzes or color a page; and to have a creative part of their days. A great example of it is a page with a picture of food- bread, an apple, and carrots, houses, clouds which kids can print out and color it using the colors they want. As a result, it allows them to express themselves.
The creators of these website use a lot of images of kids and adults to represent that McDonald is the best way to make them be happy. As an example, a picture in which depicted a part of a bottle with McDonald’s logo on the foreground and there is a smiling boy and a smiling girl on a background. One more example is a picture of happy kids who are playing with snow and there are two bags with McDonald’s logo on a background. We can find a lot of examples which show that McDonald’s play a “good parent” role on its website.
For example, under the section “Food,” “Nutrition,” “kids Nutrition,” and “changing together”, it says “Not to boast, but we know that kids everywhere love McDonald’s. And we view this as a huge responsibility. Family life is busier than ever these days, and it’s a challenge to strike a balance between grabbing a quick bite and choosing a meal, based on a variety of choices. When it comes to eating well and having fun, we can help”. By telling this, McDonald’s tries to explain people that they think about children and if parents don’t have time for their kids, McDonald’s will do it.
Another example is the example under the section “our story,” “values in action” and “Moms’ Quality Correspondents” and “What It Means to My Family” which says that McDonald’s helps moms to understand that its food is the best nutrition meal to eat. Tonia Welling, one of the correspondents, says that McDonald’s gives a food which she can give to her four kids as they eat homemade food. McDonald’s and its suppliers showed her how they get meat and that this meat is delivered to its restaurants using the highest safety standards. They also tries to convince people that they prepare the food for their customers as they do it for themselves.
Tonia Welling also says that McDonald’s give people a great possibility to get nutrition information of its products while looking at their menu. She doesn’t have to take time to get all this information as she does when she goes to the supermarket. She also claims ”Chef Dan and his team test an array of ingredients, spices, and flavor combinations to get to the right end product.” Consequently, people like that they don’t have to spend time to get the nutrition information and can get the right product that they want. When visiting international McDonald’s website, I notice that they also focus to promote family values.
For example, German McDonald’s website uses the image of a father who is hugging his wife and his daughter with big smiles on their faces. It represents the image of an ideal family where everyone is together and happy. The eyes of each family member show respect and love. The father who is hugging them represents that he supports them, loves them and will do everything to make them happy.
This website also tries to convince people that their food is fresh and healthy by showing different kinds of ads in it. As an example, one part of McDonald’s website which is called “Food to Feel Good About” says ” We all can benefit from a variety of wholesome foods and nutrients in our diets every day to help keep us strong, healthy and performing at peak levels. That’s why we’re constantly looking at our menu to ensure we’re giving our customers (including our youngest guests) a selection of balanced choices.”
By telling this, they try to show people that they have a variety of food to choose and everyone can find food he or she likes most of all; and this food will be fresh and healthy. The title of “Wholesome Choices” says “From the apple slices in our Happy Meals to the whole grains in our Fruit ‘n Maple Oatmeal to the vegetables in our Premium Salads, McDonald’s helps you make smart meal decisions each and every day.” This part of their website is showing people that their meals are made from real products such as fruits because individuals should eat fruits daily.
According to the website “1% Low-fat White Milk Jug and Fat-free Chocolate Milk Jug each which provides 30% of the Daily Value for calcium, offering one of the three daily recommended servings of dairy”; protein which comes from Premium Grilled Chicken Sandwiches and Grilled Chicken Snack Wraps; whole grains and vegetables. In addition to all of these, McDonald’s website uses the stories which say that McDonald’s is the best restaurant where people can eat fresh and healthy by providing different kinds of information. As an example, the story which is called “From Field to Fry” says “The potatoes are unloaded from trucks and plant associates begin checking the quality immediately.
The larger potatoes are separated from the smaller potatoes, washed in water, and enter into the peeling system, where they are exposed to high-pressure steam that blows the peel off. Next up is the Lamb Water Knife, which uses high-pressure water to push the whole peeled potatoes through a grid of knives that ensures longer, consistently cut fries. The cut strips are then blanched in hot water, dried, partially fried in oil that has zero gram’s trans fat per labeled serving, frozen, and packaged…”
This information is used to tell people that McDonald’s food, in particular, fries are made from the real potatoes. All of these things are used to manipulate people to buy their products. To illustrate this, the image of Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich, which looks so delicious having mouthwatering tender, white meat grilled chicken breast filet, leaf lettuce, a tomato slice and mayonnaise, so you want to eat it right away.
According to propaganda on the site, we can see that working there is a great possibility for young people to find the first job which can help them to support themselves in college, or it can be a way to buy that first car.
It says ” McDonald’s can help you make your own way, with challenging careers, quality benefits and the best opportunities around.” The creators of the website use such things as writing in red color to following words: “Nearly 50% of our corporate restaurant managers started out as crew” and in yellow color saying: “So did more than 60% of our owner operators” which attracts people’s attention. In addition, they tell people that they have flexible schedule which helps young people who go to school.
According to the article, people who work with them have different backgrounds, different interests which can be combined to make an ideal force. It also says “We believe in giving you the tools you need to succeed, whether it’s the chance to own your own restaurant or tackle the corporate ladder. To be the best company we can, we have to offer the best opportunities, and we’d like to believe that some of the best ones around are right here.” The next part of its website has the following information: “Careers For Veterans” with the words “We believe in giving back to those who gave to us.
You took care of our families- now let us take care of you. McDonald’s USA and our local restaurant owners are proud to join the White House’s Joining Forces Coalition and expect to create more than 100,000 career opportunities for Veterans over the next three years. We will also build upon existing training and development programs to help Veterans obtain management positions in an accelerated time frame. Additionally, we are launching a Veteran Spouse recruitment program and will continue to support our current Veterans with the introduction of a Veteran Employee Resource Group.”
So they claim to help veterans in getting a job. Additionally, they say “We strive to hire and keep the brightest and the best. And to do that, we’ve put together perks designed to make you smile — even before you pick up your paycheck. From flexible schedules and competitive wages to management training and investment opportunities, our benefits let you know you’re a valued part of our team.” Some of the benefits are competitive wages, free uniforms, free or discounted meals, flexible hours, medical insurance, prescription drug coverage, 24-hour nurse line access, vision discount and others.
McDonald’s website gives people such values as family and education, healthy and fresh food, and good career opportunities. I can say the real truth is under all of these false values. Such websites as McSpotlight, Adbusters and the book “Fast Food Nation” try to explain people that McWorld does not match the reality of the company and its products. McSpotlight website says that “McDonald’s spends over $2 billion a year broadcasting their glossy image to the world.”
Using collectible toys, television adverts, promotional schemes in schools and figures such as Ronald McDonald, the company bombards their main target group- children. Parents dislike the influence it has over their children. McDonald’s states that their advertising is no worse than anyone else’s. According to the book “Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser, the author also tells about the influence of advertising on children. Schloser says that marketing to children has become an art. It is aimed at urging children to persuade their guardians in specific ways as well as developing customers for life.
This marketing spreads well beyond television, ad campaigns and includes play lands, toys, and cross-promotion. McDonald’s has gone so far as to promote itself as a “Trusted Friend,” suggesting that it cares about its customers’ well-being. Schlosser also effectively demonstrates how fast-food companies manipulate young minds in an effort sell their products. These companies go so far as to portray themselves as trusted friends and prey on school systems with declining revenue. So this book also represents McDonald’s as a way of manipulating people.
McDonald’s presents certain aspects of its products over others. Using this strategy, they sell the illusion of healthy products and the best nutrition when it is not true. In the “Issues” section of McSpotlight we can find a lot of information about the nutrition in McDonald’s restaurants. It says “Nutritionists argue that the type of high fat, low fibre diet promoted by McDonald’s is linked to serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. the sort of diseases that are now responsible for nearly three-quarters of premature deaths in the west world.”
It is absolutely true, because I know a lot of people who love fast food, especially McDonald’s food. So, after a few years of eating it, they have big problems with their health. For example, I have 8 years old niece who has obesity because her parents used to buy McDonald’s food for her to eat. They didn’t have time to cook because they were too busy on their work. So after almost 2 years, my niece is overweight and has obesity which is not normal in her years. I also want to refer to one of the spoof ads on Adbusters which shows that McDonald’s food is not a healthy food.
It is the image of the doctors who are doing heart surgery on a background and a monitor which shows that the person who has been operated by doctors died. The monitor also shows a logo of McDonald’s and the words “Big Mac Attack” on the foreground which tells that that person died because he or she ate McDonald’s food and got a heart attack. McDonald’s video game, which is not sponsored by McDonald’s, is an example of creative resistance from a site that challenges corporate values. The information from the game’s tutorial has a lot of critical comments about McDonald’s food: where and how they get meat for their food and how it prepares.
For example, “you can fill the cows with hormones to make them fatten more quickly. This could have some risks to consumer health, but make no mistake: in love and war everything is licit”, the tutorial says. It also has the information about people who work there, and what they do to sell McDonald’s products. As an example, it claims “These weird guys are the best creators on the market. They will set up the most sophisticated and pervasive advertising campaigns. Few ads means few customers.” So these examples show how McDonald’s food can damage people’s health and how McDonald’s make people buy its products.
Talking about career opportunities, according to McSpotlight website, jobs in McDonald’s restaurants are low-paid, non-union, temporary or part-time employment which gives employees few guaranteed rights and conditions. McSpotlight website also says “Complaints from employees range from discrimination and lack of rights, to understaffing, few breaks and illegal hours.” As Siamac Alimi says about Mc’Donald’s “In my store, full-time staff were scheduled for two main shifts – 7.00 a.m. to 3/4 p.m. and 4.00 p.m. to 12.00 a.m.
People on the late shifts were meant to finish at 12.00 a.m. since the store closed at 11.00 p.m. … Employees who worked extra time beyond their scheduled shifts did not get the correct amount of break or food.” This type of low-paid work has even been termed ‘McJobs’.” McDonald’s use a psychology to control over their employees and motivate them to identify with idiotic company goals rather than their own individual and collective needs and rights.
According to McDonald’s video game “Crew member sells the meals. If there are no active registers, customers won’t enter the restaurant.” Employees also have such complaints as poor safety conditions and kitchens flooded with sewage, and the sale of food that has been dropped on the floor. As an example, I have a friend who was an employee at McDonald’s and he said the condition of the kitchen was the worst he had ever seen. Everything was dirty; food could be dropped on the floor and after that could be picked up and sent for sale as normal food. May be it sounds strange, but it is the reality of McDonald’s.
In conclusion, there are a lot of ads according to Chait which have lies in it. The lies of advertising are usually used in a depiction of the situation, values, belief and cultural norms. The advertisement is used to show people a different world, a new world in which they don’t used to live. It can tell people what to eat, what to drink and also how to live in this live. In my opinion, people should be aware of such ads because the food which they advertise is typically high in fat, sodium and sugar, and low in fruits, vegetables and fiber.
The use of this food can lead to serious health problems such as overweight or obesity, type 2 diabetes, a heart attack and stroke, and also depression and addiction. Before going there and buying it, people have to know a little bit about the food of this restaurant because if they eat it every day, they will damage their health a lot. The diseases which people can get from eating fast-food are really hard to cure. In most cases, people have to live with these diseases for the rest of their lives and take a lot of pills to feel better.