McWorld is a term referring to the spreading of McDonald's restaurants throughout the world as the result of globalization, and more generally to the effects of international 'McDonaldization' of services and commercialization of goods as an element of globalization as a whole. The name also refers to a 1990s advertising campaign for McDonald's, and to a children's website launched by the firm in 2008.
Critics claim that fast food chain restaurants such as McDonald's are destructive towards many aspects of the indigenous cultures in countries where they have been introduced.
In March 1992, an article first published in The Atlantic Monthly by Rutgers political science professor Benjamin Barber entitled "Jihad vs. McWorld", described international commercialization as one of two great clashing forces of the 21st century, the other being tribalistic fundamentalism. According to his writing, there are four imperatives which constitute the McWorld: a market imperative, a resource imperative, an information technology imperative, and an ecological imperative. The four imperatives are transnational, transideological, transcultural and ecological. The contracting idea of McWorld, the Jihad, unlike those four imperatives, stress identity of each community.
The clashing forces results from what Barber explains as the two core doctrines of our age: globalism and retribalization. It was expanded and published in 1995, and became a bestselling book. McWorld does not necessarily relate to democracy. It cares about the elements of democracy, but only to the degree that it promotes economic production and consumption. In the book, Barber explains that liberalization of nation state oriented markets to a globalized market does not seem democratic. Democracy and liberal capitalism are terms commonly used as a correlation; how democracy leads to capitalist economy and vice versa. However Barber argues that multinational corporations pursuing profits outside their home country due to competition has less correlation with open society.
A 1999 book entitled Mustard Seed Versus McWorld by evangelical minister Tom Sine implores Christians to reject the diminution of religious values that he contends results from excessive commercialization.
1990s advertising campaign
The name McWorld was originally the name of a TV campaign for the restaurant by Leo Burnett that ran many of its ads during Saturday morning cartoons in the United States in the early 1990s. The adverts featured the exciting McDonald's-related happenings that would purportedly occur if children ran the world. These included fantasies such as having gym class every period in school and eating McDonald's at every meal. In addition to planet Earth, McWorld ads featured children ruling school, space, and other arenas typically dominated by an adult hegemony; adults were portrayed as inferior and ineffective. Memorably, each spot concluded with the phrase, "McWORLD! Hey, it could happen!", as a guitar chord played in the background. One such spot won a Golden Marble Award in 1998.
Website (2008-2014)McWorld is also the name of an interactive "virtual world" website launched by McDonald's in 2008 on happymeal.com, and aimed at children. Visitors to the website could play games, go on quests, earn points and buy accessories for their treehouses and avatars (called "mPals"). The website shut down in February 7, 2014.
While the McWorld website bears some similarities to the ideas in the original McWorld campaign, such as children being in charge, it is an essentially distinct concept, created independently for a younger age group. McWorld was named by a vote of kids on happymeal.com. It can be compared to McDonaldland in that it has magical items composed of McDonald's food.
- "'Tween' scene is focus of McD's newest TV campaign", Nation's Restaurant News
- Advertising and Sales Promotion - see section "1998-2002: A more emotive advertising strategy"
- McWorld commercial on YouTube
- McWorld 2008 website
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