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[Nettime-bold] FW: McDonald's New 'Surplus Value Menu' Pays You To Eat
Bruce Sterling on 4 Feb 2001 16:56:04 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] FW: McDonald's New 'Surplus Value Menu' Pays You To Eat

(((Bruces remarks:  Let me once again assert that I
do NOT, in fact, write these futurefeedforward things.
Yes, they are hilarious, and yes, I am also hilarious,
but I am not quite that kind of hilarious.
I am merely forwarding them to the nettime list
so that the author's genius may be properly appreciated
by the Virtual Intelligentsia.  By the way, I just got
a cool futurefeedforward *T-shirt.*  Wow!

(((In other nettime-related news, I'm going to be
in Berlin for a week, starting tomorrow.  Viva
Transmediale! == bruces  )))

From: futurefeedforward {AT} futurefeedforward.com
To: <bruces {AT} well.com>
Subject: McDonald's New 'Surplus Value Menu' Pays You To Eat
Date: Sun, Feb 4, 2001, 10:05 AM

July 13, 2067

McDonald's New 'Surplus Value Menu' Pays You To Eat

OAK BROOK, IL--In yet another example of the through-the-looking-glass
pricing schemes that have become popular among consumer products
bellwethers over the past 18 months, McDonald's announced today that it
will begin paying its customers to eat select combinations of its menu
items.  Starting August 1, customers ordering from the new "Surplus Value
Menu" will also receive cash payments ranging from $.15 to $1.45.  The
flagship of the new menu, the "Big Mac Surplus Value Meal," including a Big
Mac Classic sandwich, french fries, and a branded soft drink, costs the
customer nothing, and comes, instead, with a cash payment of $.99.

 "A number of related insights lead to the development of the 'Surplus
Value' strategy," explains McDonald's Marketing VP Friedrich Shank.  "The
first is that we live in an attention economy, and in an attention economy
you pay for eyeballs, or, in our case, stomachs.  The second, and more
important, is that consumers with more money buy more.  Ford kept wages
high so that his workers could afford to be his customers.  We're taking
that one step further and paying our customers so that they can afford to
be our customers.  A huge percentage of our potential worldwide market
continues to live at the subsistence level and can't afford our products.
This new strategy will bring them into the McDonald's fold."

 Fielding questions from concerned investors, Shirley Wheere, McDonald's IR
Chief, noted that "McDonald's is adopting this new strategy from a position
of market strength.  We continue to dominate the quick-service and
education channels.  The 'Surplus' strategy aims at top-line growth, from
which we expect notable bottom-line follow-through."

 "Sure, I'm concerned," opines independent industry analyst Orna
Kincklenum.  "Whenever you see something like this it gives you pause.
Dramatic loss leader pricing is a desperate measure.  You don't amputate
the limb unless it's about to fall off anyway."

 Economic and business theorists characterize strategies like the "Surplus
Value Menu" as attempts to "extract internal value from negative enterprise
externalities."  Harvard economist J. Yis Prudome explains:  "The classic
example would be the relationship between a polluter and a company that
supplies clean-up equipment and services.  If, by polluting, I make
business for the clean-up guys, I can partner with them, both to tailor my
pollution in order to make their clean-up more efficient, and, more
importantly, to get payment in exchange for agreeing to continue polluting
and making more clean-up business.  To understand how a company like
McDonald's can afford to do something like this, you just have to ask
yourself who, outside the firm, benefits when people eat more Big Macs?
That's who's paying you to eat them."

 Others tie the McDonald's announcement to its recent retention of
FeedBank, the financial services and consulting subsidiary of temporal
networking giant Futurefeedforward.  "If you look at the SEC filings of all
of the companies who've announced something like this in the past year,"
points out Plum Difference, director of investor and consumer advocacy
group FIGHT, "you'll see that all of them partnered with or hired FeedBank
in the months preceding the change in business strategy: BP, International
Paper, MT&T, all of them.  FeedBank pushes the idea that the time value of
money is about to reverse, that future dollars are worth more than present
dollars.  What's happening is that FeedBank is helping the big guys
pawn-off their present dollars on an unsuspecting public."

 The Surplus Value Menu will be available, beginning August 1, and for the
foreseeable future, at participating McDonald's franchises worldwide.


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