Where can you eat like an Olympian? Where can you eat like a true American hero? Where do professional athletes eat the food that makes them perform so well? McDonalds would like you to believe that ordering that 6 pack of McNuggets brings you closer to winning that gold medal. In the book, “Fast Food Nation” written by Eric Schlosser, he explains how McDonalds Corporation founder Ray Kroc wanted to create a safe, clean all-American place. He made sure every franchise flew the American flag because he understood how he sold food was just as important as how the food tasted. McDonalds has teamed up with one of the most patriotic and popular brands by aligning itself with the Olympics and the NBA. I would like to show you how through my research I found that that McDonalds is selling the dream many have of playing professional sports or representing your country at one of the most prestigious events in the world through their food.
The official restaurant of the 2010 Olympic village in Vancouver was McDonalds. The food of choice of American Olympians was the chicken McNugget. The Olympic sauce was McDonald’s new sweet chili dipping sauce, the same sauce the athletes use you can now use too. That is what McDonalds is telling the public. On their tray liners they say you can see how the Olympic athletes McNugget on their website. Most people believe there is no greater honor for an athlete than to represent their country at the Olympics. People train their whole life for that honor and millions watch them every 4 years in awe of their talent, strength, speed and agility. Now with the sponsorship of the Olympics McDonalds can now sell you a little bit of that Olympic dream and American patriotism. They even have young children thinking that eating at McDonalds in some way could help them get to the Olympics because the real athletes eat McDonalds and you see how talented they are right. That is the kind of advertising that many companies including McDonalds sell to the American public by associating their brand with such patriotic and all-American events and people. You almost feel like you are doing your country a service by eating there. On soda cups and packaging they have the Olympic rings printed and underneath they always have proud sponsor written with the word proud in bold print as if to emphasize that being proud and the McDonalds product go hand in hand. In America patriotism is a major seller, no one wants to buy anything “un-American” Consumers want to have pride in their purchases and McDonalds inspires that pride by selling you wholesome American products such as hamburgers, Coca-Cola and the Olympians favorite, chicken McNuggets.
On their takeout bags they have the phrase, “The Gold Standard” referring to the selection of potatoes that McDonalds uses to make their hash browns. They say only a tiny fraction will make the cut for McDonalds which also evokes thoughts of competition and the best winning. Going for the gold is what most people are taught and they want you to believe that by eating at McDonalds you have selected the best and are being served the best. They give out gold medals for number one at the Olympics, it’s what everyone works so hard for, and nobody wants anything less. By aligning their brand with the thought of gold it gives the customer thought of the best, the best ingredients, the best cuts of meat, the best tasting food.
The synergy created by the partnership of McDonalds and the Olympic games was another example of how Schlosser wrote that, “McDonalds marketing alliances with other brands were intended to create positive feelings about McDonald’s, making consumers associate one thing they liked with another. The feelings of pride associated by the Olympics would be used in ads to help launch a new hamburger with more meat than the Big Mac.” Advertisers know that if you combine patriotism and athletics you will have no problem selling anything. It’s like the perfect storm for an advertising campaign, and that combo couldn’t be found in any greater place than in the Olympic games, and by visiting your local McDonalds you can see that they are a proud sponsor of the games whenever you purchase a soft drink, French fry, burger or McNugget, and when you see that American flag flying outside you know they are proud Americans and they want you to believe that by eating there, it makes you one too.