Online from: 2006
Subject Area: Business Ethics and Law
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|Title:||From McLibel to McLettuce: childhood, spin and re-branding|
|Author(s):||Jacqueline Botterill, (University of East London, London, UK), Stephen Kline, (Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada)|
|Citation:||Jacqueline Botterill, Stephen Kline, (2007) "From McLibel to McLettuce: childhood, spin and re-branding", Society and Business Review, Vol. 2 Iss: 1, pp.74 - 97|
|Keywords:||Children (age group), Communication management, Consumerism, Corporate branding, Multinational companies, Youth|
|Article type:||Case study|
|DOI:||10.1108/17465680710725281 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
Purpose – This paper seeks to report historical research into McDonald's public communication strategies as the corporation responded to the rising tide of “political consumerism” that accompanied its global market expansion (1960-2005).
Design/methodology/approach – Reviewing the brand's public relations strategies, through a content analysis of news coverage, the paper analyzes the way communication strategists took account of the anxieties about youth labour practices, community relations, globalization, environment and obesity which forced the brand to acknowledge the lifestyle risks associated with children and youth.
Findings – The case study portrays McDonald's as a figurehead of US entrepreneurial multinational capitalism. It reveals how addressing public opposition through the courts can backfire on a brand strategy so keen on defending its honour. The case study also finds that listening and engaging with critics is as effective as suing them for McDonald's.
Originality/value – The paper contributes to the historical recognition of the role that corporate communications professionals play – particularly marketing and public relations specialists – in transforming corporate practices by acknowledging consumers' growing anxieties about industrialization.
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