Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Don't Let Media's Search for a Story Cloud the Business Issues

Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Don't Let Media's Search for a Story Cloud the Business Issues

Article excerpt

Two stories dominated the business press last week. Most of the media began the week by sounding the death knell for McDonald's. Citing falling US sales and litigious obese Americans, the press concluded that the fast food company's day were numbered.

The second story to the grab column inches was Marks & Spencer and its poaching of Vittorio Radice, chief executive of Selfridges, to run its home furnishings division. Even typically sober newspapers swooned over the photogenic Radice and his impressive CV. The FT described him as the man who single-handedly transformed Selfridges 'from a down-at-heel department store into a cutting-edge house of brands'. So there we have it. McDonald's is finished, M&S all powerful.

Two years ago the same media were being equally strident about these two brands, but the stories were very different. M&S was finished. The media cited its awful ads, poorly positioned products and incompetent Dutch chief executive as proof that M&S was soon to be RIP. Meanwhile, fuelled by Naomi Klein's ramblings, the media were bemoaning McDonald's worldwide growth. McDonald's was portrayed as a sinister, but effective global marketer set to achieve world domination.

How could the respective fortunes of these two powerbrands have been reversed in little more than two years? The answer, of course, is that they haven't. M&S was never in anywhere near as much trouble as the media suggested. McDonald's was never as dominant or as effective as the media portrayed it to be.

Seasoned marketers should always take the media's oversimplification and miscomprehension of the business world with a generous pinch of salt. …

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