Corporate Food News: McDonald’s Goes Belly Up In Bolivia

Dec 28 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

The golden arches are belly up in Bolivia. It seems Bolivians don’t consider fast food good food. Cue the panicked and confused Mickey D marketers grasping on to their established American victims.

Lisa Karpova of Pravda translated from the original Spanish:

After 14 years of presence in the country, and despite all the existing campaigns and having a network, the chain was forced to close the eight restaurants that remained open in the three main cities: La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

It is a question of the first Latin-American country that will remain without any McDonald’s, and the first country in the world where the company has to close because it persists in having their numbers in the red for over a decade.

Confused marketers made a documentary entitled “Why McDonald’s went broke in Bolivia” in which they tried to explain that Bolivians don’t like hamburgers. But it turns out that Bolivians simply prefer slow cooked food.

In Bolivia, the food to be good requires, in addition to taste, care, and hygiene, a lot of preparation time. This is how a consumer values the quality of what goes into the stomach, also by the amount of time it took to make the meal. Fast food is not for these people, the Americans concluded.

So, we are not hard-wired for Mickey D’s. This means that something else is selling us on eating cardboard grease. Gosh, whatever could it be? How did corporations sell Americans on a culture of fast food, creating a desire for semi-food, frozen specks of animal fat laden with additives covered in sugary syrups?

In May of this year, McDonald’s got a letter from 550 health experts, accusing the corporate monster of ignoring the impact its product and predatory marketing has on kids.

“McDonald’s and industry front groups have refused to address the dangerous toll that fast food and predatory marketing is taking on our kids,” they wrote.

“In the decades to come, one in three children will develop type 2 diabetes as a result of diets high in McDonald’s-style junk food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” the experts noted. The letter, which also attacked Ronald McDonald as a marketing toll which helps the fast food company draw in younger customers, ran in several papers around the country, including large metros like The Chicago Sun-Times.

In Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 documentary Super Size Me , he ate nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days. In that short period, his health rapidly deteriorated.

John Robbins, one of the participants in the documentary, concluded for Huffington Post, “It turned out that in the 30 days, the then 32-year-old man gained 25 pounds, his cholesterol levels rose dangerously as did fatty accumulations in his liver, and he experienced mood swings, depression, heart palpitations and sexual dysfunction.”

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine draws attention to the link between heart disease deaths and fast food with this ad, taking aim at McDonald’s:

While it may be overtly manipulative and pushing a vegetarian diet (fwiw, your writer is a ‘mostly vegetarian’), is it any more manipulative than the typical McDonald’s ad?

In 2007, McDonald’s won an Australian award for most manipulative ad.

The SpongeBob Squarepants Happy Meal ad was named the winner of the Pester Power Award at the third annual Children’s TV Food Advertising Awards in Melbourne today.

The award recognises the most manipulative food ad on television and is voted on by the 2900 members of the Parents Jury, a web-based forum for parents to voice their views and advocate for the improvement of children’s food and physical activity environments.

Professor Boyd Swinburn from Deakin University said the result clearly highlighted the continuing frustrations parents had about toys being used as marketing gimmicks for unhealthy foods. “The message is loud and clear. Parents are fed up having to contend with McDonald’s enticing their children to want its food by using free toy giveaways,” he said.

Here’s the Sponge Bob German version commercial:

Which is more manipulative – the Sponge Bob giveaways aimed at the kids or the Mickey D toe-tagged heart attack patient clutching a McDonald’s burger? One is using toys to manipulate children into eating death, while the other is trying to manipulate adults into not eating death. However, the medical evidence supports the Mickey D toe tag theory whereas I have yet to see any evidence that Sponge Bob has great taste in food.

Bolivians let the free market decide McDonald’s fate and they went broke because Bolivian culture does not value fast food. But we Americans are way too busy and important to value the food we put into our bodies and our children’s bodies. After all, we have to work so we can pay the outrageous healthcare costs that this bad food creates a need for.

Thanks to our willing complicity, McDonald’s shares rose 120% in the last five years. They get rich as we go broke, and the more broke we are, the more we eat their food, which is causing a need for healthcare we can’t afford. And so it goes.

Speaking of too big to fail, just how long do you think it might be before the awakening to economic injustice leads to the death-by-corporate food awakening?

Feed yourselves, people. It’s cheaper, it’s better for you, and it will save you tons of money in the long run on top of saving the quality of your life. It will also keep you from paying the corporate monsters to screw you out of your health while supporting local farmers. It’s called freedom and independence.

Yes, it’s a PIA, but isn’t your life worth it?

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