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McDonald’s is trying a new tactic to appeal to possible customers. The company is prepping for a full-scale launch of the McDonald’s Channel, a network that will advertise the corporation, but will also bring local news, human interest stories, and some cultural news to the forefront as customers eat. Currently, McDonald’s is test marketing the channel in stores across southern California and in Las Vegas. However, a widespread release is expected in the coming months.
For fans of the McChicken sandwich or even McDonald’s BBQ sauce, there will be no escape from the channel. TV’s will be located in several places within each store, giving most of the restaurant a vantage point to watch – although, there will be a quiet corner for families who wish to avoid it. According to the Los Angeles Times that’s exactly how the company wants it. Adam Abramson, a managing partner who focuses on brand building at Landor Associates, believes McDonald’s TV will be the perfect way for the company to advertise.
"While they're in line getting their hamburger there is no escape. [In-store TV is] one of the last bastions where you have a captive audience."
I would complain about how the family dinner is dead, but the McDonald’s Channel is hardly a unique idea. Plenty of restaurants place TV’s around stores in order to give families a reason to ignore one another. McAlister's Deli has been advertising itself on TV screens for years now. McDonald’s is just giving itself a platform to make money while giving the consumer what he or she supposedly wants. For me, it’s just another reason to hightail it through the drive-through and eat my fast food in shame.
The TV station will be on a one-hour cycle. Stories within the one-hour cycle will run for 20-22 minutes apiece. Each segment will have McDonald’s in the title, for example, "McDonald’s Moms" will focus on mothers juggling careers and families. Eight minutes of commercials will be included, including a minute and a half of McDonald’s commercials and a couple of Ronald McDonald House and other charity segments. It sucks, but it is begrudgingly respectable McDonald’s has figured out a way to market itself in the perfect forum and then (probably) make money off of other companies by allowing them to advertise on their network.