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Be absolutely sure you get your point across

Consumer concern over what may or may not be in a chicken McNugget tends to wax and wane, seemingly dependent on what sensationalist headlines appear in the media in a given week. You’ll frequently see McDonalds step up to the plate to emphasise the quality of the ingredients it uses, hoping to put a fork in the debate and call it done. So for any given less than complimentary claim, you’ll see an emphatic statement from McDonalds to set the record straight. To that end, though, I have an issue with the company’s latest advertising output. 

In the advert we meet mum Sarah, whose son wants some chicken McNuggets. That puts Sarah in a spin, because she’s heard that they’re made from all sorts of chicken bits and she doesn’t know what to believe. But then we meet Rosie, who’s a food tech teacher and mum. Rosie knows what 100% chicken breast meat looks like and what it tastes like. She breaks open a chicken McNugget, looks inside, has a taste, and gives a small, appreciative nod. So, says the advert, now Sarah knows exactly what goes into the chicken McNuggets, and everyone’s happy.

Let’s just stop and ponder for a moment though. Although Rosie knows what 100% chicken breast meat looks and tastes like, she never actually says that is what she has seen or tasted in the McNugget. Neither does the voiceover. You, the viewer, may infer that to be the case, but never are we explicitly told.

Personally, I quite like a chicken McNugget, and if you search around the internet you’ll find videos and articles galore to bust the myth on McDonalds using the less than savoury chickeny bits in its McNuggets. But the point here is that this is sloppy advertising. The company has set out to make a point, but not explicitly made it – merely implied it. How on earth did that get missed between the advert being scripted and the final reel being approved. The company has opened itself up to doubt.

In this case, perhaps someone at McDonalds will notice the statement oversight and be somewhat embarrassed, but probably no harm is done. Fast food is big business and, while competition is stiff, the company doesn’t seem to be short of a customer or two. Not every business would be so lucky.

So this is my thought: if you have a statement to make about your products, if you have a unique selling point to get across, if you have a user concern to address, then always be absolutely sure you make a definitive statement. Don’t leave it to your customers to infer what it is you’re trying to say, and always beware gaping holes in your message where you’re competitors might jump in and attack you.

Mark Simms, Editor

 
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