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McDonald’s wants you to switch off

Kipp is torn between simply supporting a positive campaign and questioning why a fast-food chain is involved in 'Going Offline'

September 26, 2012 10:47 by

The Middle East is no stranger to heavily promoted and advertised awareness campaigns and company initiatives. Kipp has seen his fair share of promoted initiatives in the UAE from the non-smoking day to a no driving day. But more importantly, we have always kept track of the waves of mixed reactions from the residents. After all, isn’t that what determines the influence and credibility of any initiative?

For the most part, companies that promote campaigns, initiatives or are merely spreading awareness about a topic are usually, at the very least, remotely relevant to their own industry. McDonald’s Arabia has evidently left that cliché behind and have been promoting a ‘Going Offline’ day on September 28, encouraging residents to switch off their laptops, mobile phones and other sources of technological distractions in order to spend quality time with friends and family.

Kipp initially found this campaign really odd but we weren’t the only ones to question it. Why McDonald’s would promote a campaign that encourages us to switch off our gadgets, was beyond us. Sure, it’s a positive initiative but why aren’t they promoting ‘stay healthy’ day encouraging residents to refrain from junk food or something a little more fitting?

What McDonald’s thinks

McDonald’s Arabia is dismissing any assumptions that there is a catch or personal gain tied to this initiative and that it is nothing more than a mere healthy promotion of appreciating quality time with your friends and family members.

“There will be no prizes. Our main focus is to highlight the importance of spending family time amongst families in the UAE. Nowadays, people have become obsessed with technological devices to the point where many no longer enjoy the simple act of spending quality time with the family- the most important source of support,” said Rafic Fakih, Managing Director to Emirates24|7.

What the people think

(Social Media and Emirates24|7 – We have chosen to exclude names)

“It would have been better for McDonald’s to propose a day without hamburgers and fries and they shut all their shops.”

“I can’t buy the idea. Gadgets have a wider role to play and staying even a few hours without it has negative effects.”

“You could create an event that I can go to with my family where I wouldn’t need or want to use my phone. Then maybe I can go a whole day without texting anyone.”

“This is a wonderful idea – family time alone should be enough of a reason to be a part of this. How about sending reminder messages to all those who haven’t disconnected about how precious family time is.”

“What about people who can only reach their family through phones and laptops?”

“Such a campaign is much needed, especially in the Middle East…but shouldn’t McDonald’s be tackling issues related to its industry like junk food, obesity and non-recyclable Styrofoam packaging?”

What Kipp thinks

Perhaps we, as humans, have become so impulsively pessimistic that we can’t fathom the idea of a company promoting an initiative just for the sake of spreading goodness, but McDonald’s Arabia insists that that is all they are doing and why shouldn’t we believe them?

Sure it can strike someone as suspicious at first but you can also choose to look at it as randomly delightful. After all, the company isn’t asking for anything in return so why not embrace the positive initiative and not worry too much about the source?

Kipp would love to hear what you think about this campaign!

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1 Comment

  1. Rima on September 27, 2012 7:42 am

    McDonald’s have overhauled their comms strategy to be more about sharing good times with loved ones. This is evident, not only from the above campaign, but also their latest adverts for their coffee. Unfortunately, it’s not a unique space in the marketing world, and McDonald’s is not built for people to stay and enjoy happy family moments, which is why this strategy is completely off. Unless their restaurants in the region are being refurbished into more inviting spaces, this campaign is likely to fall flat…


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