For several years, McDonald's has been extremely successful for a few distinguished, highly standard conditions. The company with the Golden Arches served a simple menu- hamburgers, French fries, and milkshakes or soft drinks. The food was priced low, its quality was consistent, and it was served speedily from establishments that all looked alike and were extremely clean. However, in recent years, McDonalds has seen its growth rate slow down and its dominant market position slip. There are various reasons for this. The main reason is the numerous accusations made against them by environmentalist and health experts.
In 1986 all of this information looked enormously pertinent to the London Green-peace who issued a booklet with the title "What's Wrong With McDonald's" The defamatory pamphlet charged McDonald's for maltreating their employees; alluring their customers with food too high in fat, sugar, and salt, which could lead to cancer and heart disease; causing hunger in the Third World; ruining the rainforest; intentionally revealing their customers to food poisoning; exploiting children through company advertisements; and maltreating animals. Eventually, McDonald's filed a suit against five members of the London Green-peace. The five either had to make an apology or face a long hard trial where they would have to prove every statement in the leaflet to be correct. Three of the five chose to publicly ask for forgiveness.
McDonald's PR Plan to Improve Conditions
McDonalds collaborated with the EDF (Environmental Defense Fund) to devise a joint waste reduction plan. The result was a highly touted deal that gave McDonald's a reputation as a "socially responsible" business. However, Helen Steel and Dave Morris did not to apologize. On one part of the libel case was a $32 billion-a-year corporation and a group of London's most expensive lawyers. On the other side was a pair of activists with a total income of $12,000 a year. But the two got through twenty-eight pre-trial hearings, 313 days of evidence and submissions extended over three years, 18,000 pages of transcripts, and 40,000 pages of documents and witness statements. After everything was said and done, Steel and Morris were asked to pay McDonald's $98,000 in damages. But this was barely adequate to repair the public relations damage done to McDonald's during the trial. This was scarcely a victory for McDonald's. For one thing, there was no direction to repay McDonald's for its legal costs, projected as high as $20 million. And for another, the trial was a public relations ordeal with ex-employees and company officers divulging a number of details about restaurant cleanliness, corporate promotion, staff relations, and clandestine spying.
Public relations activities are intentional, structured, planned, and serve the public interest. Public Relation is an effective tool that creates "corporate image" by building good relations with the company's various publics by obtaining favourable publicity, handling unfavourable rumours, stories and events. Public relation can have a strong and long lasting impact on public alertness at a much lesser cost than advertising. Public relation can have a strong and long lasting impact on public awareness at a much lower cost than adver