Upon arriving in France at the end of August, I began seeing McDonald’s advertisements throughout the metro stops with the phrase, “Venez commes vous êtes” meaning “Come as you are”. Speaking very little French at this point, I tried to guess what this phrase meant by looking at the visual components of the ads. For instance, in one advertisement there was a costumed grim reaper sitting unperturbed at McDonalds eating a meal. There are a variety of others and eventually I was able to understand the message, which prompted me to further investigate the “Come As You Are” McDonald’s campaign, which shows McDonald’s as a positive brand.
Going beyond print is a commercial for this campaign, which features a gay male teen sitting at McDonald’s as he waits for his father to bring lunch to the table. The teen is chatting with an assumed lover on the phone as he looks at his school picture and hangs up the phone when his father returns. His father speaks about how he was a “ladies man” in his teen years and remarks that it is a pity his son’s class is all boys. The teen smiles somewhat secretively and the words “Venez commes vous êtes” appear across the screen. McDonald’s is clearly intending to use this campaign as an egalitarian place to enjoy a meal. Nathalie Legarlantezec, the brand director for French McDonald’s commented that the goal of the ad was not to highlight the struggles of homosexuality but simply paints it as a place accepting of all individuals. McDonald’s has famously low prices for large portions and thousands of locations, indicating that the fast food restaurant chain is accessible to a wide variety of people regardless of class, creed, appearance, and in the case of the commercial, sexual preference. I have stopped into the Paris McDonalds a few times (mainly for WiFi, but have enjoyed some French fries as well) and have to agree that people in McDonalds range from wealthy to lower income families, who are various races and I assume different religions, proving that anyone is welcome in McDonald’s just as he or she naturally is.
Link to Article and Youtube video: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/01/gay-mcdonalds-ad-in-franc_n_596361.html