McDonald’s is apparently not above funny business when it comes to defending their brand. San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar is pretty sure that the company bused in a bunch of Chinese speakers to help them fight a proposed citywide ban on Happy Meal toys, as SF Appeal reports. The ban, similar to one enacted in nearby Santa Clara County in April, would outlaw the longtime marketing ploy that gets kids demanding fatty Happy Meals, the idea being that if they don’t get a free Toy Story 3 figurine they won’t want that burger and fries quite so much.
Mayor Gavin Newsom has already promised to veto the law if the Board of Supervisors passes it, calling it a “dangerous path” to go down legally. But in the meantime the Board held a hearing on Monday at which a bunch of McDonald’s top corporate brass showed up, along with a number of Mandarin speakers (most of San Francisco’s Chinese population speak Cantonese) who admitted that they didn’t live in the city, and who appeared to be reciting from scripts as they got up during the public comment section to express their fervent love of Happy Meals.
“We were not able to confirm that they were from San Francisco, though we got the sense they were not,” says Mar. McDonald’s denies busing in these supporters, who claimed one after another that they read about the hearing in the Chinese-language newspaper, and often traveled to S.F. “on business.”
“Clearly, this is a very passionate subject for a number of individuals, including members of the Asian community,” the company says. “We applaud their support in opposing this ordinance in its current form.”
After losing the battle down in San Jose, did McDonald’s just rehire the same guerrilla PR firm they had down there — where Mandarin speakers are more prevalent — to stack the Board chambers with fake, paid-off Happy Meal defenders? Those are some well funded shenanigans right there.
Did McDonald’s Bus in Chinese People to Oppose Happy Meal Toy Ban? SF Supe Thinks So [SF Appeal]
Earlier: McDonald’s Hamburgers: Almost Entirely Indestructible [Grub Street]
Next Government Target: Happy Meals [Grub Street]
McDonald’s CEO Skinner returns fire in Happy Meal spat [Chicago Business]