Stepping deep into this fray is McDonald's (Oak Brook, Ill.), which has developed a strategy to encourage hip-hop stars to use the names of its hamburgers in return for a royalty.
McDonald's will have final approval, but the marketing firm behind the maneuver confirms that the hip-hop stars will have the say in deciding how the verbiage is incorporated into their music.
The effort is not enjoying universal acclaim. The Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood (Boston) assails the campaign as “inherently deceptive: Even as food companies pay lip-service to the idea of responsible marketing, they increasingly turn to new and deceitful ways of targeting children.”
McDonald's boasts of its more-healthful menu items, and one spokesperson recently was quoted as saying, “What's not healthy about a Big Mac? It's just a sandwich with bread, meat, ketchup and pickles.” In the age of obesity, touting a Big Mac (replete with its 560 calories, 30g of fat and 1,010mg of sodium) as anything other than unhealthy would seem unwise, though perhaps not as much as some of the more-indulgent fast-food debuts of late.
The Thickburger, which Hardee's (St. Louis) launched amid widespread derision from health-conscious individuals, has unveiled a Frisco version, with buttered and grilled sourdough bread, bacon, Swiss cheese, tomato and an onion-flavored mayonnaise, not to mention the 1/3-lb. beef patty. The burger weighs in with an estimated 720 calories, 46g of fat and 1,340mg of sodium.
However, do not think breakfast has been left out of the indulgent possibilities. Burger King's (Miami) Enormous Omelet Sandwich is deserving of its moniker, boasting one sausage patty, two eggs, two slices of American cheese and three strips of bacon, to tip the scales with 730 calories, 47g of fat, 1,860mg of sodium and, for those still watching their carb intake, 40 net carbs.