McSex Sells When McDonald's Unwraps
If you’re going to co-opt imagery, it’s wise to check the source. In the case of McDonald’s commercial for its McWrap sandwich, the co-opted imagery, surprisingly enough, comes from pornography.
I’m not trying to call out McDonald’s. I’m drawing attention to the choices commercial producers make, consciously or unconsciously, and the way all imagery ultimately becomes public domain.
As the McWrap commercial begins, a woman looks longingly, flirtatiously, at a man. The Golden Arches frame her head like Playboy Bunny ears:
Now he unzips…er, unwraps, the object of her attention:
The McWrap stands, tempting and erect, at the center of the frame. She is drawn to it magnetically – the power of desire floats her across the restaurant. This is a classic porn trope, and you can imagine what would be in the center of the frame in a XXX-rated video. “Open up,” the narrator commands. Behind her, radiating imagery appears, opening like a flower. Let’s call her glide across the floor a McRite of Passage:
She can’t stop herself or her momentum; she almost takes it in her mouth:
Instead, she offers him something pink:
In any created construct, and a 30-second TV commercial is a highly created construct, everything is a choice. Her pink hoodie and drink, his blue shirt. Her inability to eat, his inability to talk. The heightened unwrapping sound.
Dr. Marcia Dawkins, an keen observer of race and culture, draws attention to the racial casting and notes that the music’s drum beat calls to mind the “’jungle’ trope that goes along with the very colorful imagery (i.e., food explosion/orgasm) behind the female.”
What should we make of all this? We live in a mash-up world. Imagery begins in one place, then moves to another. We’re used to porn videos co-opting and parodying legit titles – Buffy the Vampire Layer, Everybody Does Raymond, and the like. This may be the first instance where a mainstream name-brand company turns the tables.
You can watch the whole McWrap commercial here:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Leipzig is the founder and CEO of MediaU, online career acceleration. MediaU opens the doors of access for content creation, filmmaking and television. Adam, Cultural Daily’s founder and publisher, has worked with more than 10,000 creatives in film, theatre, television, music, dance, poetry, literature, performance, photography, and design. He has been a producer, distributor or supervising executive on more than 30 films that have disrupted expectations, including A Plastic Ocean, March of the Penguins, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Dead Poets Society, Titus and A Plastic Ocean. His movies have won or been nominated for 10 Academy Awards, 11 BAFTA Awards, 2 Golden Globes, 2 Emmys, 2 Directors Guild Awards, 4 Sundance Awards and 4 Independent Spirit Awards. Adam teaches at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business. Adam began his career in theatre; he was the first professional dramaturg in the United States outside of New York City, and he was one of the founders of the Los Angeles Theatre Center, where he produced more than 300 plays, music, dance, and other events. Adam is CEO of Entertainment Media Partners, a company that navigates creative entrepreneurs through the Hollywood system and beyond, and a keynote speaker. Adam is the former president of National Geographic Films and senior Walt Disney Studios executive. He has also served in senior capacities at CreativeFuture, a non-profit organization that advocates for the creative community. Adam is is the author of ‘Inside Track for Independent Filmmakers ’ and co-author of the all-in-one resource for college students and emerging filmmakers 'Filmmaking in Action: Your Guide to the Skills and Craft' (Macmillan). (Photo by Jordan Ancel)