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McDonald’s Finds A Brilliant Way To Hit Starbucks And Millennial Coffee Culture (Right Where It Hurts)

Sometimes, it’s obvious.

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BY Chris Matyszczyk - 22 Feb 2017

 PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.


One of the secrets in getting away with looking like an idiot is, I find, knowing when you look like an idiot.

Some brands, though, can't help but embrace their serious intent and believe it to their core.

This seems especially true with the rise of certain chi-chi, even hipstery notions of basic entertainments.

Coffee, for example.

Once, it was just black liquid that you chose whether to dilute with milk or not.

Now, it's a parade of pretentiousness that drifts from ventis to the demented, from grandes to the most pathetically grandiose.

Now you're supposed to wonder which part of Colombia your coffee came from and whether it will taste better with soy, almond milk or praline extract.

McDonald's suddenly looked at this and thought: "Oh, good Lord. We can differentiate ourselves from this pompous nonsense."

Not hard of course. You're McDonald's, home of the sort-of-fast sort-of-food.

Still, the burger-maker's UK arm thought it could position itself as the anti-hipster, anti-pretentious, anti-Starbucks's new Roastery that charges you $10 for a coffee whose beans have been tickled by the feet of rare itinerant hyenas.

And how sweetly it did it.

An ad that's just been released in the UK shows that the simple love of coffee has been infiltrated by a complex opera of windbaggery.

Here, then is McDonald's showing real people (played by real actors) who just want a coffee, but are instead assaulted with verbiage, garbage and a bondage to the show.

The tiny cup, the overwrought presentation, the ridiculous Wi-Fi password and the minuscule cake that costs an arm, a leg and two additional fingers all tell you that this is nonsense created to bolster profit margin.

The coffee culture emperor never had shoes, doesn't know what a shirt is and believes that his big, bushy beard will protect him from all infections.

If you're going to position your brand, know whom your positioning it for and what they really feel.

How many citizens of the world have wandered into a Starbucks or other coffee culture enterprise and been stunned that their latte costs a lotte?

How many would love life to be simpler, more straightforward and, frankly, more understandable?

Apple built the world's most admired brand on the back of simplicity, not pretentiousness. (Well, not entirely)

Here, McDonald's is acknowledging its everyperson character and making its brand a hipster replacement.

Perhaps it won't work. Perhaps too many people are wedded to the notion that coffee should be like wine -- sipped, admired and venerated.

There ought to be enough people, though, who just appreciate that they can waft into McDonald's, avoid all the guff and then get on with staggering to the office and protecting themselves from losing their job and their dignity.

Sometimes, a positioning and an ad do everything they possibly could for their brand.

This is one.

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