You know what the least punk thing in the world is? McDonald’s. You know what the second least punk thing in the world is? This McDonald’s punk advert.
Food isn’t very punk fundamentally, despite the best effort of Gary Rhodes’ hair. Piercing your skin with unsterilised needles is punk. Spitting at your favourite band is punk. Starting a band in a garage, even though you can’t really play is punk. Fighting is punk. Al fresco blowjobs behind youth clubs are a bit punk. Underage smoking, abusing drugs, flirting with extreme political views and vomiting on old ladies – all punk.
It’s hard to think of anything that chimes less with punk’s rebellious, alt, DIY ethic than a global multinational repurposing animals into the kind of sugary, salty discs fast-food joints laughingly refer to as food. When I look at the cover of Never Mind The Bollocks… I don’t instinctively think “I’d like to eat a Big Mac”. Likewise, when I see a McFlurry I don’t go and sniff glue on a double-decker bus.
When I listen to the Buzzcocks I don’t equate that music with visiting a drivethru alongside the sort of people who bundle up all the plastics and cardboard containing their high-calorie gak and throw it out the window. Although McDonalds’ awe-inspiring contribution to the amount of filth on British streets does have a vague ring of 1977 about it.
I have visited McDonald’s restaurants on about ten occasions in my entire life and I don’t intend to add to that tally. Never have I seen a member of staff resemble anything like a model from Suicide Girls, although the co-opting of punk, grunge and goth by massive online brands pretending they give a fuck about tattoos, burlesque, beards and loud music seems to be what passes for rebellion amongst today’s youth, irrespective of the fact that covering yourself in tattoos and making your ears look like well-chewed gum is just about the most conformist thing you can do in 2016.
Even culture’s most alarming, atavistic, nihilistic movements get repackaged by rich white people and sold back to an unsuspecting generation of youngsters, flushed with hormones and keen to fit in. Today’s teens, despite displaying the same outward fashions as their 1977 forbears, are much more likely to obediently spend their cash at a Maccies while Instagramming a pic of their slurry-in-a-bap rather than brick it, more’s the pity.
McDonald’s punk advert
Anyway, the advert itself. Why is the British teen equivalent of Ralph Malph sat in a Capri with his Dad visiting McDonald’s. Would you be seen dead visiting a drive-thru with your Dad? And why a blingy Ford Capri? It’s not in any way punk. Give me a clapped-out purple Austin Allegro and we’ll talk. Why can’t he speak? Why would anyone in their right minds eat pepperjack cheese – a material closer to plastic-coated vomit than food? What does punk have to do with a mass-market product called The Peri-Peri Chicken One, like it’s an episode out of Friends. And why shit all over The Buzzcocks?
So many questions are posed by this McDonald’s punk advert. The lingering one in my head – as ever – is what on earth people are thinking when they choose to actually hand over money for this shite in McDonald’s.
What do you get? Diabetes with an impacted bowel thrown into the bargain.