• Aug 14, 2006
When McDonalds announced that it had teamed up with GM on a new HUMMER-themed Happy Meal, it seemed like a no-brainer. Kids like Happy Meals, kids like trucks, and everybody knows HUMMER. You don't need a degree in marketing to figure out that putting these elements together would be a hit for all involved.

Reading the New York Times' account of it, however, could lead one to believe that the HUMMER Happy Meal represents the end of western civilization.

In last week's article titled "Would You Like A Gas Guzzler With That?" writer Melanie Warner offers up a plodding critique of the promotion, McDonalds, and of course, GM / HUMMER. The reactions collected are so over-the-top, the article practically reads like satire.

Click through for some of the hyperbole-laden "highlights" of the article.
  • Kids with their Happy Meal HUMMER trucks
  • Warner interviews a Sierra Club official who characterizes the promotion as being as responsible as "dipping a Big Mac in fry oil and serving it to your kids." The same rep also takes potshots at GM for having the audacity to produce the HUMMER H1 and H2, which, he sniffs, are technologically "passé." The Sierra Club's feelings about HUMMER are not exactly a secret.
  • A spokesman for the Environmental Defense Fund apparently had his tinfoil hat firmly in place at the time of his interview. He theorized that "McDonalds might be trying to help an ailing General Motors win some future customers." Yes! It's a conspiracy designed to help GM rule the world in 8 to 10 years when the the kids who currently make up the Happy Meal's target audience get their drivers licenses.
  • Anne Korin of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security is against the promotion, saying that large inefficient vehicles are, according to the article, "unpatriotic and detrimental to America's national security" and that the HUMMER toys send "a message to children that utter waste of this precious resource that is causing us such national security problems is O.K." Ummmm, whoa.
The only message kids register when they get a miniature HUMMER with their McNuggets is, "COOL! FREE TOY!" This is because they're kids and not agenda-driven killjoys like this particular Times reporter and the people she interviewed for the article.

Going to groups like the ones cited and asking them to comment on HUMMER is akin to seeking opinions on the Yankees from Red Sox fans in the stands at Fenway. No one's going to have anything nice to say, and everyone involved in the conversation knows it.

The article, ostensibly about the marketing tie-in, was really just an excuse to tee off on GM for having the audacity to produce SUVs. Why else would a reporter go to the Sierra Club to get reaction on this month's HUMMER Happy Meal theme?

[Source: New York Times]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 108 Comments
      gennyleerealtor@aol.com
      For Gods sake do people not have anything else to worry about except what kind of a toy car kids get in their happy meal. Be thankful some kids are getting to eat at all, there are many out there who don't.
      Jack Cleary
      • 8 Years Ago
      All I can say is absolutely unbelieveable. With all that is going on in the World and a trash paper like the NYT would pick up on something like this. I guess the looks on children's faces when they get this happy meal toy mean nothing to them. Would they rather see the looks on the children's faces in Iraq or Lebanon or Israel? What has their circulation done in the past year or so anyway - if it is not down by a large margin there are more sick people out there than I imagined.
      Billy Gregory
      • 8 Years Ago
      Duh!Is this dumb, or not. America is going to hell in a borrowed handbasket, & we are talking about this! "Can't we all just get along!" :)
      Ter
      • 8 Years Ago
      I am truly pissed about irresponsible press people slamming Hummers. I have been yelled at by an out of control young lady in a public parking lot as “you ass hole driving that gas guzzling Hummer” and have had my H2 keyed and doors banged into it. Nothing wrong with not liking SUVs or trucks or what ever - just don't name a particular type because you now have walked all over my freedom - think about it. Also, a few months back Fox News had a young lady on who specifically named the Hummer as a gas guzzling SUV. Enough of this...last time I checked this was a free country! And, oh yes, blame the Sierra Club for saving the Caribou and fauna in Alaska...they stop the search cold for Alaska’s NorthSlope oil deposits in the early 70s. Gee now we get to buy our oil from enemies! Great going Sierra Club! I am 66, not wealthy, wanted to drive a Hummer as my last car, can afford the Low Octane (as in less expensive than Premium) fuel and I got 14 mpg on a trip to Texas last year. I don’t tell others how to spend their hard earned money and no one else has the right to single me out and make me a target for vengeful people - and you know there are some really nasty folks out there who think they have a right to take you on if they feel like it!!! So live and let live and let the kids have some fun with a toy for crying out loud.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Dear Mr. Nunez,

      Obviously your infatuation with Ann Coulter and cold hearted GOP propaganda is bias of the truth that the New York Times’ speaks. I fully agree with the NYTs’ and other critics that supplying kids with Hummer happy meals is truly a sign of our eroding society.

      Sincerely,

      Rush Limbaugh
      • 8 Years Ago
      As a bit of a nerd, stories like this really confuse me.

      How can people say on the one hand that giving kids a Hummer doesn't mean squat, and on the other that letting kids play computer games does affect them in the future?

      My opinion is that although it won't be as bad as the NYT suggests, this marketing push from McD and GM will be quite successful and cause more Hummers to be on the road. You underestimate the effect that kids have on their parents purchases.
      Tom Brigante
      • 8 Years Ago
      The most amazing element within this entire, extremely absurd observation is the question of how on earth can someone with such a benign and myopic perspective rise high enough in a news organization as extensive as the NY Times to editorialize without supervision? Didn't anyone in a position of authority see this person's article before allowing it to go to print? I asked my nine year old, who returned home two Saturday's ago from a McDonald's birthday party with a toy Hummer, to read this commentary, after which he asked "does this mean I can't play with my truck, Dad?" Of course I told him he could absolutely play with the truck, and that I just wanted his opinion on what was written by Ms. Warner. He said "sounds like she's mad at something, is she, Dad?" I said yes, I thought so too. His final comment was "How could she get so mad at a hamburger and a toy truck?" "Good question, I answered." Out of the mouths of babes..........

      I hope Melanie writes something meaningful next time. I don't want my son picking his favorite paper based on one silly article.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "I'm glad I don't live in NY. Or else I'd have to read the NYT. "

      No, I'm sure you could keep your subscription to Highlights.

      All you Times bashers - the issue isn't so much that the Times is on the far left (though it obviously has a liberal slant) - it's that you're on the far right.

      • 8 Years Ago
      The New York Times, I'm assuming would change from being "liberal bias" if they need to, but there target audience seems to support the paper that everyone on here hates so I'm confused, it sounds like a business giving people what they want.

      -Like I have said news sucks and all it does to people is turn them into opinionated people. 24 days now without news. I have to revise, my two "kind of" sources for news are:

      autoblog.com
      http://www.happynews.com

      Other than those two sources, I could not tell you what has been taking place on this globe the past 24 days. It really does release a lot of stress. :-)
      • 8 Years Ago
      #109 Ryan - "Goodbye GM. Hello Toyota and the 94-113MPG Prius due out in '08."


      The Toyota LandCruiser, Tundra, Sequoia, FJ, and 4Runner would like to have a word with you. Not one of them gets better mileage than a big 'ol Chevy Tahoe.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's one more example of branding being burned into kids heads earlier and earlier in their lives..I remember my next door neighbors had a kid, and when he was 1 month old they had him riding around in a Jeep stroller. I counted, from his vantage point, five places where the "Jeep" logo was visible. Come on, don't kids have a whole life time of having brands shoved down their throats?

      The thing is, they really love it..look at those grinning kids with their hummers. The subconscious programming is so powerful in this country that even if none of the kids know WHY they love it, they all love getting a "hummer" toy.

      What's wrong with just having a "big truck" toy, anyway? Why infect your children with the materialist cancer that is eating this nation, causing us to be more unhappy and sick that they would otherwise be? Why promote your kid to go deep into debt in ten years to purchase a vehicle they really don't need? Consumer debt is a burgeoning problem in this country, which causes many systemic and personal problems, and how many 20 somethings who drive H2s paid cash??

      That being said, it's a stupid article, and I don't really blame mcd's or GM for this. They're in business to make money, right? Hummers make them a lot of money, right? (out of your pocketbook, suckers!) And kids like toys, right? I'd say that parents should talk to their kids about these toys, but the truth is, TV and internet are more persuasive than parents. "Big truck! Crush! Crush!" is a lot more digestible to a kid than a reasoned talk about consumerism, environmental impact, financial responsibility, etc. etc. And most americans are really just overgrown kids anymore. It's sorta sad.

      But when you look at it from the big picture, McDs and GM are definitely part of the problem, not part of the solution. But the problem is bigger than any specific company, or any specific happy meal toy.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "I'm glad I don't live in NY. Or else I'd have to read the NYT."

      Yes, because it is against the law to live in NY and not have a NYT subscription.
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