Congratulations on yet another fantastic marketing campaign. From a marketer’s point of view, the recent Hello Kitty campaign you ran is a fine case study of what it means to use desire to drive sales. We all know – from past Hello Kitty collaborations – it was going to be a success, anyway. For a feline without a mouth, and an oversized head, Hello Kitty is the planet’s most sought after commercial hookup. I cannot think of anything with Hello Kitty that has failed.
Anyway, I intend to have a word with the lil’ pussy about being so free with her affections. But today, let’s talk about you.
I do not care for Hello Kitty. Having worked in an industry known for its practice of using freebies to attract sales, I always saw Hello Kitty collectibles as a convenient way to jack up sales numbers. Why no magazine has put Hello Kitty as its cover model completely escapes me? If anyone from magazines is reading this right now, maybe you should consider launching a series of Hello Kitty covers with the different fashion capitals of the world serving as backdrops. If you ever do that, I expect a fee for the idea.
But yes, back to you, you silly clown.
McDonald’s is the world’s largest toy distributor. Since time immemorial, you’ve always given a toy with your Happy Meals. Sometimes, you launch a series of collectibles where each toy comes free with every Extra Value Meal bought. Fine. It’s all fine. In fact, if this is a business model that works, stick with it. Everyone wants something free whenever they buy something. It’s human nature.
What is not fine is the fact that you had neglected to realise that many people would buy the food just for the toy. And what they did after they got their toy was most abhorrent. Many people – upon receiving their limited edition Hello Kitty – simply dumped their Extra Value Meals at the bins.
That’s perfectly good food wasted. Surely this was something you could have seen coming?
Was it not possible for you to work with a movement like the Chope Food For The Needy? For anyone who wasn’t interested in eating their food, they could sign it away so you could hold those food and then feed some poor needy student or the elderly in the weeks to come?
Please do not tell us that the logistics of executing such a plan is an issue. You just coordinated the biggest, craziest marketing stunt Singapore has seen in recent times. Despite the haze, people were still going to your restaurants to buy Hello Kitty! Yes, let’s not even pretend that people really braved the haze for a Big Mac, shall we?
In 2011, it was revealed that over 458,000 Singaporeans earn less than $1,500 a month. 1 out of 7 citizens in this country earns less than $1,000. These are people for whom paying $8 for a fast-food meal is a luxury. These are people who probably could not afford to take their kids to McDonald’s on a weekly basis.
While you were busy profiting from this phenomenal Hello Kitty campaign, did you pause for a moment to think of how the needy could have benefited from this? Did you pause to consider how “sinful” and “ugly” it would be for people to buy these meals and then throw them away because there really is so many McNuggets and french fries a person can put inside him?
In 2007, Dr Lily Neo spoke up for the poorest segment of the population in Parliament. That year, she explained how the poorest in Singapore had only $5 a day to live on.
Sir, my single constituents told me that they needed to skip one meal a day to live on the $260 per month. And now, MCYS is going to give them $1 more a day. But, Sir, $1 a day will not be able to buy them one meal a day in any hawker centre.” Dr Lily Neo, 2007
Have things improved since Dr Neo’s speech? Well, I’m sure everyone knows the answer.
Yes, even though many Singaporeans have shown that they can spare both the time and the money to collect a series of Hello Kitty dolls, we need to be sensitive to the fact that there live among us, families who can barely afford to have three square meals a day.
Dear McDonald’s, perhaps the next time you launch another campaign for a collection of dolls that for some unknown reason causes grown men to MAKE COMPLETE ARSES of themselves in public, plan to give back to the society by getting people who don’t want the food to sign it away for a good cause. I’m sure there are many of us who would volunteer to move down the snaking queues to get the forms signed for you.
And for those of you who threw away perfectly edible food because you only wanted the toy, I hope you realise just how insensitive and selfish your actions were.
I sincerely hope such foolish waste of food will never happen in Singapore again.
As it is, life is hard enough for many of us. Let’s not rub salt into the wounds of those who can barely feed themselves.