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]