Emotional Marketing and How it Gets You

June 3, 2014   8 Comments

Snack Girl believes that McDonald’s was out to make toddler’s cry with its latest Happy Meal packaging.

Emotional Food Marketing

“Ahhh! It’s going to eat me!”

While some kids might be frightened by McD’s newest version, the “Happy Meal” and its message will endure.

This marketing campaign has been going on for so long, we don’t pause to consider the meaning. When you buy it, your kids will stop whining and be HAPPY. They will forever think that McDonald’s is a happy place and want to go there to get their fix.

You, of course, will be happy because you didn’t have to cook or clean-up. And, they get a new toy – all for $4.27! In case you didn’t know, parents worried about the nutritional value of the Happy Meal will be happy to know that it now includes apples and options for drinks other than soda.

Happy, Happy, Happy.

It is WAY too easy to pick on McDonald’s for so explicitly attempting to manipulate our emotions and make us feel warmly about the experience of buying and eating their food.

Check out this cup from Starbucks with an Oprah quote on the sleeve:

The whole quote from Oprah:

Be more splendid, more extraordinary. Use every moment to fill yourself up.

with Starbucks coffee…

Umm, I think she meant Starbucks coffee?

When I went into Starbucks, there was a life size Oprah poster greeted me at the door telling me how awesome I am.

I am an Oprah fan because I love how she encourages, motivates, and inspires us to dream, love ourselves, eat healthier, and buy really soft pajamas.

Starbucks was hijacking my warm fuzzies for Oprah so I would love their coffee, too! After drinking all this coffee, I was inspired… to find a bathroom.

The Starbucks marketing campaign is a little subtler than McDonald’s but not much.

Ask yourself, the next time you buy some food, why you chose the place that you purchased it from. Do you love it for its actual food or is their something else, perhaps in your subconscious, at work?

I’ve got to tell you that Starbucks offering health care, benefits, and full-time employment for their workers actually does give me the warm fuzzies for the chain. My local coffee house workers told me that they were cut off from working 40 hours so that the owners did not have to offer the same ☹

What emotional marketing campaigns have you observed? Do they get you?

Other posts you might like:

Junk Food in Home Depot

Stores That Should Not Sell Food

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Why I Hate Shopping For Food

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Snack Girl has a wonderful job. She gets to set her own schedule and do what she loves....

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I hate the fact they give toys with happy meals. They just add more junk to my house, and of course (when given the choice) my kids would rather go somewhere where their meal comes with a toy. They already like junk food enough. They don't need toys as an extra incentive / positive association to make them like it more.

Our kids are all grown now, but when they were little, my friends and I would collect all of those Happy Meal toys from our kids rooms (and every other corner, it seemed!)and give them to the elementary school teachers to use as incentives for good behavior/work/ or whatever they deemed appropriate. What was funny was when one of our kids would come home with their "prize" that only days before I'd retrieved from the toybox and donated to their teacher! :)

When my son was about five we started evaluating our want for McDonalds. I would ask him, "Are you hungry or do you just want a toy" He learned easily that McDonalds isn't good food and he employees the same tactic on his friends who begged for happy meals. Sometimes if the you was really good, we bought the toy and went home for dinner.

I just finished reading an excellent book titled "Sugar, Fat, Salt" all about the marketing of processed food. It opened my eyes to the fact that all the major food companies use scientific laboratories to experiment on the best ways to get us "hooked" on their products. I can't do the book justice here, but I won't be buying any boxed "helpers", not that I made a habit of that. The stuff in the ingredients lists of most processed food is horrible. And way too much sodium for anyone looking after their health. And while a hamburger at a fast food place is not the greatest of healthy foods, just check out the calorie count for one at a sit down family restaurant. I haven't found one basic burger in a place like Ruby Tuesday, Chili's or Applebee's under a thousand calories.

I agree I don't particularly like mcdonalds food either but I do have to speak on behalf of all elementary teachers... Yes we appreciate these toys being donated!!! They are a huge help! They save us money and time. I use them as prizes that the kids can earn on Fridays if they have had good behavior all week. The last 2 years I have not had parents donating like I had in the past and would have to go purchase dollar store items to stock my prize box which would easily cost $50 to $60 for one nine weeks!!!! That hurts the wallet! And I do prefer giving them toy prizes rather than sugary candy! So yes teachers do appreciate... At least I do!

This is really nice topic, which is very useful for me.

I wonder how good Happy Meal sales would be if you had the option to skip the toy and get a discount on the purchase price? The value of both meal and toy would be exposed. ;)

2 points:

1. Hugs and tears television shows are nothing more than marketing that we all subsidize at the checkout line. Capitalism masquerading as humanitarianism.

2. How much of our thinking is actually our own?

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