Oak Brook, IL — The McDonald’s corporation announced late this week that it plans on teaming up with Philip Morris International to create a “synergistic play between both companies” by labeling the popular children’s Happy Mealâ„¢ with select cigarette brands. Project directors from both companies say this new campaign has been in the works for a couple of years.
“It’s pretty simple,” said Philip Morris spokeswoman Bethany Millbright in a prepared press release. “One of our most popular product campaigns over the years has been candied versions of tobacco products. But public tastes change, and we here are Philip Morris needed a new strategy. So we reached out to McDonald’s to see if they’d be interested in co-branding some of their products. And they were.”
Both companies have seen sales drop considerably in the past few years as Americans’ tastes change, and many Americans are not looking to die before the age of 50 with some horrific, preventable disease. So according to analysts this cooperative marketing move by both corporate giants makes sense, but also smacks of desperation.
“It’s pretty obvious what’s going on here,” commodity analyst Jim “The Jeff” Bremfall of Morgan Stanley. “Both companies are not sure what to do with their domestic markets, so on the surface this seems like a perfect fit. However it can backfire which could further erode the brand equity of both companies.”
McDonald’s was gracious enough to provide the Nevada County Scooper with a prototype of the new Happy Mealâ„¢. From the outside, the product seemed unchanged. Inside the box, we found the following items:
- A six piece chicken McNuggetâ„¢ box
- 5 oz. of chocolate milk
- Apple slices
- A Marlboroâ„¢ cigarette-labeled french fry container
- 1 napkin
- And a small figurine of 1970s-era Burt Reynolds in a Pontiac Trans Am smoking a cigarette.
Local reaction was predictable.
“Finally a reason for ordinary Americans to avoid McDonald’s,” said local Green Party leader and generally nice guy Derrick Packard. “This shameless marketing ploy to get kids to eat more crap and prep their minds for a lifetime of smoking cigarettes has finally crossed the Mr. Obvious line. I hope it has, that is.”
Regarding the critics of this new marketing effort, Mr. Millbright had this to say.
“This is America,” said a more serious Ms. Millbright. “And people here are free to do whatever they want. I urge both Philip Morris’ and McDonald’s loyal customers to ignore these negative forces of liberty who wish to take their freedoms away. They need to follow their gut instincts right through the Drive-thru.”
If the project is successful, both companies plan on extending the program to its international markets where they believe it will be even more successful.