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The Tentacle


May 17, 2006

Image is everything

Chris Patterson

Ladies and Gentlemen! You are not going to believe this, but the place to go to lose weight is…wait for it…

McDonald’s! (Insert big cymbal crash here)

You’ve seen the ads showing the lean, strong and healthy image McDonald’s is projecting now, haven’t you? Even if all you do is drive by a McDonald’s every day going back and forth to work, you’ve probably seen them.

Of course, if you did venture into some of the more recently updated McDonald’s restaurants to try their new Premium Coffee (because you just couldn’t make it to Starbucks), you would have seen the amazing new décor that’s designed to make you THINK you are in Starbucks.

Also, for further evidence of this image transformation, you only need head to the McDonald’s Web page at www.McDonalds.com where you will see that Food: Nutrition and Fitness is the second item on the title bar. Sports is the third item.

It is on the Web page that you can learn that McDonald’s has a nutritionist! It states that the nutritionist “helps guide activities worldwide in the areas of menu choice, physical activity and education for McDonald’s balanced, active lifestyles commitment.”

Nutritionist – Dr. Cathy – is quoted as saying that “bringing my nutrition expertise to a company as dedicated to customers and their well-being as McDonald's is an exciting opportunity. Because McDonald's reaches millions of people every day, we can really make a positive impact on top health issues of the day by promoting smart eating and active lifestyles.” Her favorite McDonald’s food is the 150-calorie ice cream cone.

I am not making this stuff up, folks.

And I will say that when I read this I lost several pounds laughing so hard that my abdomen seized up. Something tells me that wasn’t what they were going for, though.

So, wassup?

As a child of the 50s, my family sought out the famous golden arches anytime we were on a road trip. It had cheap food fast that the kids (that would be my brother and me) wouldn’t complain about. And who couldn’t love those little burgers and french fries.

But now, as McDonald’s has clearly had enough ribbing about the high fat content of its food and potential lawsuits from the attorneys for size 58 dining clientele, it is changing its image. No longer content to pretend to offer a couple of quasi-healthy food choices, the fast and fattening food giant is going whole hog on the lean theme.

In addition to your Big Mac, you can now get fitness DVDs, if you can believe that. Yes, the message is healthy and light all the way. There are, no doubt, a thousand attorneys who told McDonald’s mucky-mucks that if they put out materials encouraging exercise that they might end up avoiding the nightmare of big tobacco.

Surely we all know that’s coming. It may not be time yet, but one day the big lawsuit against fast food restaurants – McDonald’s among them – will get slammed with a lawsuit seeking massive sums of money be paid to each state to counter the damage to the national health from eating so much fat and chemicals.

So, here’s the scoop, and you didn’t hear it from me. Rumor has it that the next big change for Mickey D’s is just over the horizon. McDonald’s is going to start providing exercise facilities for adults on site.

That’s right. Everyone will soon eat that famous 900,000-calorie signature McDonald’s Big Mac sandwich and go work it off in an aerobics class in the restaurant.

All right, I jest. They aren’t installing exercise facilities YET. But it’s true that the company has been distributing workout videos in a “Happy Meal” version for adults. In fact, there are four different videos. And after getting that video home, you can purchase Premium White Meat Chicken McNuggets on your next visit, and then work out to the video in the privacy of your home.

It gives new meaning to the words Eat and Run, don’t it?

Frankly, I think that the next big thing on the horizon for McDonald’s has to be a way to eat the Big Mac and fries and lose weight by just watching the video. Then they’d really have something.

Okay, gotta run. It’s time to do my arm curls lifting my Number 4 Extra Value Meal…supersized, of course. Then I’m going back for an ice cream cone…..



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