Magazine article New Internationalist

McJihad [McDonald's Uses Globalization to Boost Its International Appeal]

Magazine article New Internationalist

McJihad [McDonald's Uses Globalization to Boost Its International Appeal]

Article excerpt

McJihad

It's not easy being the primary symbol of rampant US capitalism abroad. McDonalds is the first point of attack for angry locals.

When French farmer Jose Bove dismantled a McDonalds to protest against industrial food culture and US agricultural policies, he was hailed as a local hero synonymous with Asterix the Gaul, the indomitable French cartoon character with a gigantic moustache who defies imperial Rome.

Faced with a little local image problem, McDonalds, in an attempt to win the hearts, minds and stomachs of the French, has retired Ronald McDonald as the company's public face and replaced him with Asterix the Gaul.

This is known as 'glocalization'- adapting global products for a local market. McDonalds quoting the dictum, 'Think global, act local,' now sells rice meals in Hong Kong, veggie burgers in India, and bacon butties in Britain.

Homogenous global culture may be increasingly unpopular, but such cynical glocalization has its own dangers. In 2000, facing a mass Saudi boycott of US food products over American support for Israel, McDonalds, which has 45 restaurants in Saudi Arabia, launched what one might term an 'intifada-burger' initiative. …

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