Those charmed by McDonald's and Burger King's LGBTQ solidarity marketing campaigns should find the brands' proclaimed support of the new crown prince of Saudi Arabia quite the whopper.
Twitter is abuzz about news that McDonald's KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) bought a full-page newspaper ad to publicly state its allegiance to the newly-selected crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.
— Al Maghnieh (@AlMaghnieh) June 22, 2017
Subsequent tweets from McDonald's, Burger King and even Domino's (sorry guys) verified accounts show full support of the son of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who has been a controversial figure for leading a brutal offensive in Yemen, enforcing Sharia Law and oppressing LGBTQ rights.
In Saudi Arabia, McDonald's KSA is a franchise owned by a close relative and another prince - Mishaal Bin Khalid al Saud - so it shouldn't come as a total shock to see the ad and tweets.
But the question isn't why these announcements of allegiance were made. It's whether or not a global brand should control its message across the world, regardless of the franchise owner's political opinions.
Often, companies that franchise their brand and business operations have to decide if those who they choose to work with are going to represent the company and its values accurately.
Which brings us to the United States, where McDonald's celebrated LGBTQ Pride in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., with a "rainbow fries" container.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) June 10, 2017
Important point - these rainbow fries were exclusively sold in those cities, which are widely known as the most visited Pride celebrations in the nation.
"These fry boxes are not being served in, say, Tulsa, Oklahoma or Fort Worth, Texas where they might actually make anyone feel differently about LGBTQ+ rights," Joe Kukura pointed out in the SF Weekly.
“The rainbow fry boxes are a fun way to show our support of the LGBTQ community using one of McDonald’s most iconic and recognizable items; however, these fry boxes are ‘small potatoes’ in the grand scheme of our commitment to this community,” Cathy Martin, co-chair of the McDonald’s PRIDE Network and Vice President/General Manager of McDonald’s Baltimore Washington Region, said in a statement. “We are proud to honor and celebrate the LGBTQ community, including our employees, customers and beyond, each and every day.”
Freedom of speech considered, corporations can speak out of both sides of their proverbial mouths. It's up to the public to decide on which menu they spend their dollar.
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