Thursday, August 10, 2006

I'm Not Loving It

Upon arriving home the other night, I almost tripped over an object across the floor from the sofa.  Closer examination revealed that it was a red toy Hummer.  It was the H1, to be exact.  You know, the original gargantuan behemoth that started the Hummer craze.


It seems that Madame boran was a bit rushed and decided to stop at McDonald's to feed the boran2 boy.  (A rare event in our home, otherwise known as the east coast headquarters for organic research.)  For some reason, my son is partial to those chicken McCrap things.  The Hummer was the toy included with his Sappy meal.  A Hummer?!!  How, umm, timely?


McLink


WHEN General Motors introduced the three-ton, 11-miles-to-the-gallon Hummer H2 four years ago, it redefined American extravagance. But now, with gas prices hovering at $3 a gallon and threatening to go higher, sales of Hummers are declining as Americans become increasingly conscious of gas mileage.


McDonald's, however, appears not to have gotten the message. This week, the restaurant chain started putting toy Hummers in children's Happy Meal boxes, calling it the "Hummer of a Summer" promotion. Television and radio ads, which started running this week, feature a family riding in a Hummer on the way to a McDonald's.


So much for depicting an ordinary American family.  


The problem is that McDonalds no longer has a contractual arrangement with Disney, a source for so many Sappy meal toys.  In a desperate attempt to fill the void, McDonald's has turned to GM for help.  McDonald's now offers 8 different versions of toy Hummers with the meals.  (Come back and collect one of each!!!)


One response:


Not surprisingly, environmental groups are appalled. Brendan Bell, an energy policy analyst at the Sierra Club, says that Hummers in Happy Meals are about as responsible as "dipping a Big Mac in the fry oil and serving it to your kids."


And another:


Charlie Miller, a spokesman for Environmental Defense, said he thought that McDonald's might be trying to help an ailing General Motors win some future customers. Sales of the H2, which currently costs about $96 to fill up at the pump, are down 34 percent for the first seven months of this year versus the same period in 2005, and General Motors has sold only 229 H1's this year, according to Autodata, an auto industry statistics firm in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.


"Anything that sends a message to kids that these are the cool vehicles to buy is the wrong message," Mr. Miller said.


I agree.  That Hummer will be out of the house shortly.

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