McDonalds Responds to the Happy Meal Hummer

mchummer.jpgMcDonalds has caught a lot of flack lately because of the infamous toy Hummers included in their happy meals for kids. They’ve also caught a lot of defense from people who don’t really see what the big deal is – it’s just a toy truck after all. The problem, of course, is that the Hummer has become something of an international symbol of bad taste and touching it with so much as a ten foot poll is bound to rile people up, whether justified or not.
Bob Langert’s excellent McDonalds CSR blog offers a response today, saying that he feels the promotion does not, in fact, reflect McDonald’s commitment to envrironmental responsibility, which is not quite the same thing as saying it was a bad idea. But either way, I think it’s great that McDonald’s official blog can offer an honest response.

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of has grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.

8 responses

  1. The Hummer protest did what it was designed to: Spark a debate that has now pushed McDonald’s to respond. When Langert says “the miniature Hummers are just toys, not vehicle recommendations,” he’s either naive or disingenuous – the point of promotions is to drive sales. Last time I checked, Hummer was not in the business of making kids happy. They’re in the business of selling vehicles that pollute the air, waste gas, heat up the atmosphere and send asthmatic kids to the hospital. If McDonald’s is truly concerned about the environment and health, why do they want to be associated with that?

  2. I think making a waek statement on their blog is inadequate; it’s more preaching to the choir and just shows that they don’t have a true “commitment to envrironmental responsibility.” The message they send to the mainstream by putting the hummers in their happy meals which influence young and impressionable kids is that hummers are good. Who is reading this blog? I’d bet not the same kids playing with their new toy hummers. If they want to state that the happy meal doensn’t refect their values, then they should make a real public statement about it and do something to rectify the impression they’ve made to the happy-meal eating kids- like putting a Prius in their next happy meal with a information on the box and interactive games teaching kids about the effects of CO2 pollution, global warming and the benefits of hybrid technology in reducing it. Now that would be a good response.

  3. Well said guys. I’ve been treading lightly on this one to see how people respond. I think Brie hit the nail on the head that, although Langert’s blog is great, it’s not going to reach the audience that is buying happy meals with hummers for their kids.

  4. I hate to say it but your arguements are ridiculous. Kids love toy trucks. It’s a fact.
    If kids or their parents really based their vehicle purchase on the toys that kids play with, most of us would be driving big yellow dump trucks to work every day.
    If I’m not mistaken, wasn’t their last Happy Meal promotion Pirates of the Caribbean? Does this mean that McDonalds is promoting a pirate lifestyle and kids should rape, pilage and plunder?
    Kudos to McDonalds for taking a stand…

  5. I definitely liked playing with dump trucks as a kid and never aspired to owning one. But that may be because dump trucks were never meant to be owned by anyone except construction companies and that makes perfect sense to a kid. Hummers, on the other hand, are passed off as a reasonable vehicle that people aspire to actually own. I don’t want to get into the debate as to whether or not anyone should or shouldn’t own one because people have the right to do whatver they want, including look like a jackass. But I will say that fewer Hummers on the road is a good thing for a multitude of reasons and not marketing them to kids (and by extension their parents) helps that cause.

  6. Nick — Yr so easy to please! I so did not see McDonald’s response to the issue on the blog as an “honest response.” I thought it was quite clearly an effort to spin the issue to deny wrongdoing. A more honest response would’ve been to admit that they fucked up.

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