If you’re a brand, making a grand public gesture doesn’t always lead to the applause you anticipated. Especially if your reputation isn’t sparklingly clean.
McDonald’s flipped its arches for International Mother’s Day this year, a gesture that it thought would be received warmly. A gesture that was supposed to be “in honour of the extraordinary accomplishments of women everywhere, and especially in our restaurants,” according to the statement made by McDonald’s global chief diversity officer, Wendy Lewis.
The upturned logo appeared on Twitter, Instagram and McDonald’s other digital channels. 100 restaurants in the US were supplied with special packaging, crew shirts, hats and bag stuffers, and one McDonald’s restaurant in Lynwood, California actually turned its sign upside down.
Not all of social media appreciated the acknowledgement. What McDonald’s ended up highlighting was not its support of women so much as the refusal by McDonald’s (and other fast food companies) to pay minimum wage and employee benefits.
McDonalds: In celebration of women we are flipping the arches upside down.
Or you could give your employees better benefits.
McD: Look it’s a W!
Maybe a living wage? Better family leave? A career path forward in the face of automation?
McD: The W stands for women.
— bogwolf (@truebe) March 7, 2018
British activist Labour group, Momentum, even went so far as to create a video with with the Bakers’ Union, that outlines how McDonald’s low wages and contracts force some of its women workers into poverty and even homelessness.
…all of which stands in stark contrast to McDonald’s statement that “from restaurant crew and management to our C-suite of senior leadership, women play invaluable roles at all levels, and together with our independent franchise owners, we’re committed to their success.”