I’m visting Washington DC this weekend, and being a news and political junkie, I happened to pick up free copies of Politico and The Hill, two tabloid-shaped papers that focus on insider politics, congressional races, and the like.
So who’s ponying up cash for full-page color ads in these papers? Folks you’d expect to want to influence Congress: defense contractors like Northrop Grumman and MEADS, pharmaceutical companies like Novartis. Then there’s McDonald’s:
The back page of The Hill contains a full-page ad from Mickey D’s pushing their apple slices. Here’s the copy:
and best friends
and in being 7 years old forever.
And when it comes to choices,
we believe in good ones.
Like Apple Dippers.
Real, fresh apple slices with low-fat caramel dip on the side.
We believe in them so much, they’re staying on our menu,
regardless of how many of them we sell.
Not just because they’re only 105 calories.
But because in a world where it’s easy to doubt anything,
we believe in trying to do the right thing.
Even if it takes a while to catch on.
An ad like this, placed in a political newspaper read by government officials and other Beltway folks, always gets me thinking. Is McDonald’s attempting a pre-emptive strike against the possibility of more fast-food regulation? Are they trying to reshape their image with people who could have influence over them? Certainly, a bunch of expense account lobbyists and politicians aren’t exactly McDonald’s target customer audience.
I’ve said it before: Corporations and unions know that from a business standpoint, influencing politicians is often more vital to the well-being of their brands than influencing the public.
Or am I reading too much into this?