McDonald’s Can’t Decide What It Wants to Be

The brand tries to be all things to all people.

McDonald’s is betting that its customers aren’t satisfied with putting Big Macs inside their bodies; they probably want to wear the greasy, saucy fast food bombs on their bodies, too. Enter the chain’s new Big Mac-themed product line, complete with clothing, bedding, and home decor.Big Mac Dog

The burger-emblazoned line launched Tuesday at a “McWalk” fashion show in Stockholm, Sweden, and the products are available to customers worldwide via this website: bigmacshop.se.

While we’re thoroughly amused by the images, we’re left wondering: Where exactly does this fit in with the rest of McD’s recent branding messages? In fact, how do any of the company’s recent campaigns relate to each other at all?

mcds-lifestyle-hed-2015

Over the past few weeks, McDonald’s has attempted to reach the health-conscious by announcing that it would stop using chicken raised on certain kinds of antibiotics; it tried to make itself the international language of love and joy by launching the global “I’m Lovin’ It 24” event that included concerts, giant ball pits, and the like; its plan to introduce new hipster-inspired menu ingredients like kale was leaked to the press; and now it’s launching a product line in an attempt to drum up nostalgia for its old standby, the Big Mac.

It even scheduled a “surprise” concert by singer Jessie J in the UK:

But can a company be nostalgic and progressive at the same time? Can it tap into people’s love of its grossly unhealthy product staple and convince people that it’s committed to healthier food options? Can it convince everyone that the company is a responsible citizen even as protesters demand increased pay and Taco Bell tries to classify its biggest competitor as your standard “evil corporation?”

It seems to us that the answer is no.

The company is taking fire from all directions and is trying to defend itself with multiple different brand messages to tackle each separate problem — but rather than being effective and multifaceted, it’s coming across jumbled, contradictory, and unconvincing.