I’m resisting the temptation to blame Sarah Palin for this ad

I’d like to take a break from blogging about global finance and the 2008 election to talk about something really important — McDonald’s very curious ad for its new McCafe line.  The Boston Globe‘s Jenn Abelson explains the new marketing push by Mickey D’s:  Two new McCafe television commercials, titled “Hipsters” and “Intellectuals,” take direct ...

I'd like to take a break from blogging about global finance and the 2008 election to talk about something really important -- McDonald's very curious ad for its new McCafe line.  The Boston Globe's Jenn Abelson explains the new marketing push by Mickey D's:  Two new McCafe television commercials, titled "Hipsters" and "Intellectuals," take direct aim at Starbucks by featuring actors inside what looks like a Starbucks store, making fun of the Seattle coffee purveyor. In the 30-second "Intellectuals" spot, a woman sitting in a leather chair, sipping coffee in front of a fireplace with piano music playing in the background, tells her friend about McDonald's new lattes, and says, "Now we don't have to listen to jazz all day long." The commercial ends with a voice-over saying, "Try McDonald's McCafe coffees. All the coffee. Hold the attitude." "New Englanders have a special love of coffee. The launch of the McCafe coffees in the Boston area is the next step in making McDonald's the beverage destination for customers," said John S. Lambrechts, general manager and vice president of McDonald's Boston region. "We are doing this to meet the needs of our New England customers by bringing them premium espresso-based McCafe coffees at the convenience, and value, that only McDonald's can offer." Here's the "Intellectuals" ad -- take a look.   This kind of thing is more Virginia Postrel's bailiwick than mine, but I can't resist three thoughts: I have no problem with poking fun at intellectual pretentiousness -- but mocking a knowlege of geography?  That's not cool.  I'm not sure that the makers of this ad have actually been to a Starbucks since about 1994.  They don't play all that much Jazz, and there is no shortage of women wearing heels and showing off their... knees.  A more accurate and way more politically incorrect approach would be to run an ad that signals, "Hey, come to McCafe -- we don't have the bearded guy with bad hygeine and stack of yellowed newspapers ranting about the Plunge Protection Team at our place!" I find it interesting that the male equivalent of this ad -- which is called "Hipsters" -- seems more on target and less insulting.  There's a deeper insight to be made here.... nope, can't get there, just want to think about sports.  Sorry.  I'll punt this to Virginia, Laura, and Megan.  [You're just ticked that your promotion to full does not come with free Big Mac perks--ed.  No, I'm ticked that I have to go to Burger King to get onion rings.]

I’d like to take a break from blogging about global finance and the 2008 election to talk about something really important — McDonald’s very curious ad for its new McCafe line.  The Boston Globe‘s Jenn Abelson explains the new marketing push by Mickey D’s: 

Two new McCafe television commercials, titled “Hipsters” and “Intellectuals,” take direct aim at Starbucks by featuring actors inside what looks like a Starbucks store, making fun of the Seattle coffee purveyor. In the 30-second “Intellectuals” spot, a woman sitting in a leather chair, sipping coffee in front of a fireplace with piano music playing in the background, tells her friend about McDonald’s new lattes, and says, “Now we don’t have to listen to jazz all day long.” The commercial ends with a voice-over saying, “Try McDonald’s McCafe coffees. All the coffee. Hold the attitude.” “New Englanders have a special love of coffee. The launch of the McCafe coffees in the Boston area is the next step in making McDonald’s the beverage destination for customers,” said John S. Lambrechts, general manager and vice president of McDonald’s Boston region. “We are doing this to meet the needs of our New England customers by bringing them premium espresso-based McCafe coffees at the convenience, and value, that only McDonald’s can offer.”

Here’s the “Intellectuals” ad — take a look. 

 This kind of thing is more Virginia Postrel’s bailiwick than mine, but I can’t resist three thoughts:

  1. I have no problem with poking fun at intellectual pretentiousness — but mocking a knowlege of geography?  That’s not cool. 
  2. I’m not sure that the makers of this ad have actually been to a Starbucks since about 1994.  They don’t play all that much Jazz, and there is no shortage of women wearing heels and showing off their… knees.  A more accurate and way more politically incorrect approach would be to run an ad that signals, “Hey, come to McCafe — we don’t have the bearded guy with bad hygeine and stack of yellowed newspapers ranting about the Plunge Protection Team at our place!”
  3. I find it interesting that the male equivalent of this ad — which is called “Hipsters” — seems more on target and less insulting.  There’s a deeper insight to be made here…. nope, can’t get there, just want to think about sports.  Sorry.  I’ll punt this to Virginia, Laura, and Megan

[You’re just ticked that your promotion to full does not come with free Big Mac perks–ed.  No, I’m ticked that I have to go to Burger King to get onion rings.]

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner

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