the corporate social responsibility bandwagon

Companies that take a stand are all the rage now. It used to be that the limit of corporations’ social ambitions were to make a lot of money, thus keeping people employed, returning profits to stockholders and helping the economy as a whole. For better or worse – and there are arguments on both sides – that has all changed.

That corporate social responsibility is in vogue is not new news…and that fact alone means that it was only a matter of time before the whole idea, or at least of advertising the idea as a point of differentiation for your brand, jumped the shark.

When McDonald’s, via agency DDB Stockholm, is touting the morality of its hiring practices because it sees a business opportunity in positioning itself as a moral company you know that what was once a trend is now firmly mainstream:


Body copy: “Nor Swedes, South Koreans or Norwegians. We hire individuals. We don’t care what your surname is. Because ambition and determination have nothing to do with your nationality. McDonald’s is one of the most integrated companies in Sweden, with as many as ninety-five nationalities working for us. Join us at”

Forget the Economist-esque treatment that Adrants rightly has a little fun with, the point of this ad, which is running as a full page ad in major Swedish newspapers, is not to recruit for McDonald’s stores – they would hardly use such an untargeted means of recruitment were they really struggling to find workers – it is to convince Swedes of McDonald’s social goodness.

It’s tangental to the product offering…it’s trite copy that is kinda familiar…it’s something that McDonald’s thinks will get it new business.

If every company is touting how wonderfully superb they are to the world at large, and The Economist says that most companies are, then is that really something that will make your brand stand out? Or has it become mere cost of business these days?

Either way, Fonzie’s strapping on his skis as we speak.


2 responses to “the corporate social responsibility bandwagon

  1. “Fonzie’s strapping on his skis as we speak” is the best line I’ve read all day. Nice work.

  2. JPMorgan and Goldman bonuses and risk-taking (i.e., ignoring the society’s criticism regarding the financial crisis) may be a counterexample to the importance of CSR in business. I just posted on this example, in case you are interested.

    Nice post!

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