Would you like fries with that?

I’m torn, really.

As someone in the advertising business – someone that seeks new and innovative ways of selling someone else’s candy bars – I respect a clever application.

On the other hand, as someone who believes in the integrity of a newspaper, I don’t want to see the copy cluttered with sales pitches. I don’t trust ads that could compromise the journalistic nature of the newspaper.

Like these ads for McDonalds. The newspaper copy has been altered, color-wise, to become part of the ad. The content is unchanged, aside from hue. It’s a pretty cool idea. So, with that, I applaud the design.

McDonalds Bun AdsMcDonalds Bun Ads
(click for larger image)

From advertising for peanuts:

These McDonald’s ads were embedded into the editorial of a Canadian newspaper by changing the color of the text. Perfect execution by Cossette Atlantic/Canada. Simple, but I’m sure hard to pull off. While this approach succeeds in cutting through the current clutter, and while its novelty might make the consumer “smile” (for now), I have to wonder what kind of backlash we will see when newspapers, magazines, movies, music, video games and all forms of media become just part of another ad. Oh wait, we might have already reached that point.

I, too, shake my head at what could be a scary future. Newspapers need more and more to boost sales. How much more compromise will be seen? How long until these newspapers are nothing more than vessels for advertisements – a publication run by corporations, not a paper run by journalistic integrity? How long until big companies simply drop the middle man and purchase the newspapers themselves – allowing a free pass to advertise in any way they please?

I’m getting ahead of myself, really. Let’s not put the tin-foil hats on in anticipation of enemy invasion just yet. But keep on the lookout – the blurring, as advertising for peanuts notes, may already be here.

Kudos to McDonalds, their creative team, and the newspaper group that pushed this through.

Just be careful. Just be careful.

This was lovingly handwritten on January 31st, 2007