McDonald's Ads on BoingBoing

Can anyone provide any information on how it was decided to allow the large McDonald’s ad campaign on BoingBoing? Is this a decision by a third-party ad provider? Can BoingBoing opt out of allowing certain campaigns without major changes to your advertising strategy?

McDonald’s seems like the last company BoingBoing would want to be associated with. Mac Do are an environmental and biological disaster.

Apologies for an earlier semi off-topic complaint about this on a post.

Thanks for all the great content. I have been a reader for many many years.


I guess the adverts are targeted by territory / by browsing habits … I don’t get McD’s


Ah! Interesting. I suspected as much. My distaste for McDonald’s may be causing me to see their ads as I often research them! A funny/maddening consequence of targeted advertising if so.

1 Like

Our policies are here (do a text search for “advertising” to get to the juicy stuff) but the tl;dr is that our ads are mostly placed by Federated Media. FM acts on our behalf, selling our ad space and generally acting as an intermediary between us and advertisers.

We’ve had McDonalds ads appear on Boing Boing a lot over the years, some opt-in through FM and some just appearing through Google more or less at random (and often unbeknownst to us, in other countries). Contextual ads might appear based on your own interests, too: if you hate McDonalds enough to google them… :wink:

I understand if you don’t like us taking their money, given the criticisms of them we’ve posted and linked to. We haven’t stopped posting them, though–no one advertiser is more than a tiny proportion of our business and thanks to services like FM and Google we don’t always deal with advertisers directly. You’re welcome to use ghostery and similar plugins to manage what ads are served to you.


Thanks Rob. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond.

McDonald’s ads just seem so out of place on BoingBoing! My real fear is that some readers might take their ads appearing on your site as some sort of approval of them by you guys. I even briefly questioned my reaction to seeing the ads, as BoingBoing’s moral positions are usually so well-thought out - even the ones I occasionally disagree with. But, your readers are probably more discerning than I am giving them credit for with my concern over the Mickey D’s ads.

Anyway, thanks again for the thoughtful reply and your great work.


1 Like

What, you’re not lovin’ it?


Addons to have and love - Ghostery and ABP

McDonalds ads? What McDonalds ads? I don’t see any McDonalds ads…


[Kinda OT but] McDonald’s ads drive me nuts in that I know that they’ve targeted people my age and have probably done the most exhaustive research on our ticks than any other group will possibly do, but in the end it’s mostly the same old shit but now with a veneer of ‘smiling happy hipster to be faux-organic’ and they would never do anything that would even remotely upset their base of office workers and soccer-moms

TL;DR Mcd’s tries to be hip, but in the most conservative way possible.

Maybe most of 'em. I still eat McD’s on occasion, even though one of their McRibs almost killed my father.

No, really.

1 Like

Wait, are you serious? That sounds like a story that needs to be told.

Nothin’ too compelling. His blood pressure was high, he’d just finished moving my parents’ household across two states, he was exhausted, and it was McRib season. He ate one and suffered a heart attack within the hour. It just kind of helped him over the top. After a couple days in the ICU, the cardiologist gave him a stern lecture about sodium and diet and all that jazz. My dad still hasn’t entirely corrected his eating and exercise habits, but he’s doing noticeably better these days. But he hasn’t wanted a McRib since.

It’s true, a Carl’s Jr Western Bacon Cheeseburger would have been just as dangerous.


We had a discussion about McDonalds and the minimum wage in the USA a few weeks ago. I just found out something interesting. McD’s spends on the order of $6 billion a year buying back it’s own shares. That’s a significant amount of money - if you imagine that McD’s has about 760,000 workers in the USA and about 1.7 million globally - McD’s could cancel the share buyback program and give each worker in the USA an extra $10K a year in salary, or if they shared the money globally they could give each worker an extra $4K a year. That change could be made without affecting the basic profitability of the business or the cost of the food in the restaurant.

The effect of the share buyback is to create scarcity and to push up the price of the remaining shares, which are held by the company execs. The remaining shareholders make capital gains on the value of their own investments when they buy back shares.

Specifically, it ought to be illegal, or it ought to incur punitive taxation for any company to be buying their own shares when 80% of their workforce is on minimum wage and in receipt of federal benefits such as SNAP or housing assistance. The federal government is in effect supplementing the income of low-paid workers due to the large sums of money spent on share buyback - it’s tax dollars subsidising a program that benefits the executives.

Too true to be good.

I am so disappointed in BB for allowing McD ads to hit me at one or two stories in. Capitalist swine, have you no conscience, no awareness, no resistance? Cory Doctorow, when are you going to do your “WalMart is all DIY” advert?

Hey, do you still remember your sources for this by any chance? Sounds really interesting but I’ve googled and I’m coming up with numbers and charts but not the analysis of how they play out (and I am not a business / market analyst).

Think with your mouth.

Do you wear a lot of Boing Boing t-shirts?

Complaining about treatment of the employees is valid. The share buyback is pretty much orthogonal, outside of re-confirming that McD’s has been highly profitable.

Question: How many of us who complain about McD’s underpaying its staff tip heavily, or tip at all? I’ll be the first to admit that I still don’t tip reliably at fast food and take-out joints, though I’m tipping 20% on a regular basis at sit-down restaurants and for delivery. Like it or not (and I don’t!), American custom is that food service staff gets underpaid and they’re expected to make it up out of tips… but this is a category where people simply don’t tip.

I don’t but if such a thing exists I’d love to get a couple!