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August 2015

McFlop on the McWhopper but that’s Ok, I Made My Own

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September 21st, International Peace Day, it’s coming up, but prior to yesterday did you know this? Neither did I, but yesterday after Burger King executed what could arguably be one of the most brilliant marketing strategies ever, I will never forget International Peace Day. With full page ads in both The Chicago Tribune and The New York Times, plus a website and video dedicated to their pitch, Burger King suggested to McDonald’s that they merge their Whopper and the McDonald’s Big Mac for one day only.

McWhopper stop one

Dubbed the #UnthinkableBurger, Burger King proposed that these two iconic brands would set aside their differences and unite to raise awareness of International Peace Day and raise funds for the Foundation.

I’m pretty conscious of what I eat, and even though this burger would be only available in Atlanta (which was deemed to be the midway point between both brands HQ’s) I suddenly found myself wanting this proposed “Frankenburger” of sorts. I also wanted to support the cause and the gesture. Who hates international peace, right?

Burger Kind and McDonald's

Burger King’s campaign, or challenge, if you will, reminded me of a high school kid going over the top in some cutesy, elaborate and outrageous way to ask a date to prom, making the gesture unforgettable and difficult to turn down. Well that’s just what McDonald’s did. They turned Burger King down. No counter offer, no other suggestion or compromise. Instead, Steve Easterbook CEO of McDonald’s gave a vague response with a thank you but no thank you. This was not going to happen, that much was clear. Well Mr. Easterbrook you can rain on the parade, but you will not be taking this away from me. I went ahead and made my own McWhopper today.

My McWhopper

The McWhopper after a bite

I also made a donation to International Peace Day, and came to a few conclusions.

1. The Big Mac is pretty much tasteless. I have never tried a side-by-side comparison but now that I have, I’m writing off the Big Mac.

2. I also think now that since BK Lounge has brought back chicken fries Steve Easterbrook’s company might be in trouble, well beyond the 3000 some negative comments written underneath his response to the King.

3. All Burger King needs to do now is bring back Kid Vid and the Kids Club, and I think the momentum could be unstoppable.

P.S. Anybody else remember the McWorld campaign?

Maybe there’s actually something to this coloring book craze after all.

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You may know that adult coloring books are one of the hottest things around these days. As I write this, they make up four of the top ten best selling books on Amazon. Yes, coloring books! A lot of people, sociologists and psychologists included, have been weighing in on the reason. So I figured, why can’t an unqualified, armchair psychologist like me take a swing at it, too?

People say the act of coloring is relaxing. It allows for a kind of focused effort that takes them away from their nagging To-Do lists. It’s an inexpensive escape from life’s stresses. A time machine to childhood. A mental vacation. A simple form of meditation.

Sure, coloring is all that stuff. But I think the best part is that it’s so dang easy. Most people appreciate the need for a creative outlet. Problem is, learning an instrument takes skill. Knitting takes skill. Painting takes skill. Not to mention years of dedicated practice.

Coloring takes crayons.

And that’s about it. No months or years of frustration and angst. Just a black and white sheet of paper and a good old box of Crayolas.

Yet there’s still a creative component to it. You need to make color choices. You need to have a bit of hand-eye coordination. It’s physical and mental. You can do it anywhere, on any budget.

The key to happiness in any creative endeavor is the ability to focus on process rather than product. To enjoy it for the sake of doing it, without stressing out about how it looks, or sounds, or whether you’ll sell it or become famous from it.

With coloring books, the expectations are nil. Heck, if toddlers and monkeys can do it, why not a full grown adult? Coloring reminds us that it’s okay to enjoy the process. Like when we were kids. Like when we did things because they were F-U-N. Without judgment. Without purpose. Without any goal to work toward. Not because our jobs or our egos or our livelihoods depended on it.

Everyone should have something like that. A creative pursuit they practice for pure enjoyment and nothing else.

I admit, it’s been a long time since I’ve peeled back the lid on one of those 128-pack boxes of crayons. But maybe I should.

I’d probably be a lot less stressed out.