McDonald's will probably gain a few fans from people who will see them for the first time as a large employer instead of a series of small factories manufacturing a variety of obesity aids. The 50,000 people McDonald's hires will not make a dent in the more than 13 Million registered unemployed in the U.S. so the attention will not last for long. A couple of years ago Hyundai offered to take back cars if people became unemployed within a year of purchasing the vehicle. Bank of America has offered a "Payment Holiday" for consumers who want or need to skip a payment to ease the burden—the payment is tacked on to the end of the loan. These types of promotions generally grant the marketer some momentary goodwill, and a temporary uptick in sales but have no lasting effect.
The McDonald's tactic will ultimately be seen as an attention-getting, short-term tactic. There are a multitude of tactics McDonald's could employ having to do with their menu, community efforts, focus on nutrition, training, benefits and more that would actually constitute real investment and have a much more lasting effect.
b>The opinions expressed here are solely those of Mr. Woodard.
Larry Woodard is a director on the Advertising Week board and chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies' New York Council.
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