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Utopia as Presented by the McDonald’s Corporation

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Essay title: Utopia as Presented by the McDonald’s Corporation

Utopia as Presented by McDonald's

The McDonald's Corporation spends over two billion dollars a year in advertising. They employ over one million minimum wage earners, who have reported discrimination and lack of rights, understaffing, few breaks and illegal hours, poor safety conditions and kitchens flooded with sewage, and the sale of food that has been dropped on the floor. McDonald's is the largest slaughterer of cows of in the world, and uses the beef to produce food that many nutritionists argue is the type of high fat, low fiber diet linked to serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Diseases such as these are responsible for nearly three-quarters of premature deaths in the western world (McInformation Network). Despite these facts though, Americans still swarm to McDonald's and smile at the corporation's television commercials. The reality is that the advertising McDonald's does manipulates society into perceiving McDonald's as a symbol of, and contributor to, an ideal lifestyle.

The commercials that McDonald's televises are about life and community in the American culture. They are a perfected version of the ideal American lifestyle that society desires to achieve. This paper will examine three such commercials that McDonald's has successfully used in the United States. The first commercial deals with a community of people that support and brag about an ambitious young man working his way up the work force ladder of McDonald's. A boy who began on the street corner now has the potential to own a corporation someday thanks to the promotion that McDonald's gave him. The age old vision of America as a "land of opportunity," is presented as an attainable reality, and McDonald's is shown as the sole presenter of that opportunity. The second commercial centers on a favorite American sport, football, showing happy children and cheering parents teaming together as a community to create the perfect season. McDonald's comes forth as the backbone of this season by sponsoring it, using McDonald's colors on all the uniforms, and providing a haven for the players and their families after the games. Finally, the third commercial goes into the home of a loving and responsible father, and his baby, who despite his youth is portrayed as smart enough to know that McDonald's is a desirable commodity that will provide for one's wants. The intelligent looking and adorable child rejects a typical meal of baby food and demands instead the food of McDonald's. These three McDonald's commercials depict the essence of the idealized American community, and portray a utopian vision of life.

The first commercial opens with the yellow McDonald's double arch logo in the lower right corner, and the title "Grapevine." Light, bouncy music plays as an African American man, approximately age eighteen, uses a blue pay phone. He is shaven, with cropped hair, straight white teeth, smooth skin, and proportional features. He wears a blue and white horizontally striped polo with a nametag on left breast and McDonald's logo on the right, and a black cap saying "McDonald's" in red. The setting is outside of McDonald's with people in the background. The man speaks into the phone saying, "Yep, I'm part of the management team now, Mama." A woman, African American like all the other characters in the commercial, in her late thirties appears speaking into a yellow phone. She wears a predominately blue shirt with flowers, shirt tails out, her hair up in a bluish scarf, gold ring on left ring finger, and smiles broadly revealing a round face with smooth skin. She stands by a sink in a small sunlit kitchen and responds with, "Oh Baby, I'm so proud of you." The conversation continues; "It's only afternoons," and Mama replies, "But still it's a promotion." At this point the young man says, "I gotta get back to work," and the scene ends.

The next scene begins with Mama saying into the receiver, "Guess what Anna?" Anna, a woman roughly the same age, slim, with short hair, and wearing

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