Wednesday, October 10, 2007

American Character

McDonald’s has recently started marketing their Beef Supreme burger. The burger in itself is fairly simple – beef, bacon, two slices of cheddar cheese, and your choice of sauce. Maybe the sauce is what makes it American? One is a creamy parmesan and the other… well, the other I’m not sure what the other is. They describe it only as, “a unique sauce in the purest American style.” Maybe it’s ranch? I should stop in and ask one of their workers to see how they describe the taste of such a purely American sauce. And what marketing genius came up with the slogan, “a hamburger with authentic American character.” Has American character suddenly become popular again? And what exactly does that mean anyway? Does the burger come in a box three times too big? Or is it a burger that only half the country thinks tastes good? Come to think of it, the Burger King slogan, “Have it your way,” is really the authentic American character. We want things how we want them and when we want them, and in most cases that’s what we get. A choice of two sauces? Ha! Real American style would be to take the sauce from the Italian chicken sandwich, change the cheese to Swiss, and double the bacon. And don’t give me a dirty look for being difficult. The customer is always right, right?

Who knew a cheeseburger would get me so riled up? It was probably all because of the commercial (see it here). It catches your attention for sure but I’m not sure what it’s selling. Maybe it’s trying to convince all those Spaniards that they don’t need English classes – all they need is a good cheeseburger. Who knows? I’ve never claimed to understand the science behind marketing. What I do like about the commercial is the fact that, if you look closely, you'll see that they filmed the spot outside a McAuto. McDonalds with drive-thrus are not all that common here. And, let's be honest, what's more American than a drive-thru? But I also like
the accent of the third guy, Paco. To me he sounds the most like an American.

The American (I mean US-ian but that’s so awkward, so bear with me) accent is a funny thing. Non-Americans tend to say that we speak as though we have gum in our mouths. I don’t know what that means, really, except that maybe we move our mouths a lot? I saw an example of this on TV a few months ago. While interviewing a girl for a model-search show here one of the judges asked her, “how on earth do you think you can come to a casting with gum in your mouth?” Turns out she wasn’t chewing gum at all but one of her parents is American and she spent the first 7 years of her life in America. What must it sound like when an American actually IS talking with gum in her mouth?


Katie said...

Nice post, Amy! Good find with the ad--I definitely hadn't seen it. I agree that it makes no sense. You really captured the American "way" in the first paragraph... ;)

Bilingual Blogger said...

jajajaja. :D
You ask a lot of existential questions in this post. That thing about the American accent sounding like gum in the mouth....I've never heard that. Most Spaniards I've met who are studying English, with a few exceptions, have told me they prefer the standard American accent to the standard British accent because it is easier to understand. But I think you're right... Spaniards should eat cheeseburgers rather than learn how to speak English correctly. :D