What Does It Mean to Be Green? Part 2

About 100 McDonald’s restaurants in Germany are changing their red backdrops in their logo to dark green “out of respect for the environment,” according to Holger Beeck, vice president of McDonald’s Germany. The logo color change follows the same practice of McDonald’s franchises in France and Britain. So are we to believe that McDonald’s is trying to be more environmentally friendly? Or is a logo change literally greenwashing?

According to The Associated Press: “The company has warmed to ‘greener’ practices, including environmentally friendly refrigeration and converting used oil into biodiesel fuel.”

But I side with a lot of the comments on Brand New, including the idea that changing the logo of their restaurants runs counterintuitive to being ecological since McDonald’s is going to have to create new printed materials, signage, packaging, etc. Talk about McLame!

This business with McDonald’s reminds me of a post I wrote a few weeks ago about the impulsive labeling of products as “green” – specifically, Stella McCartney’s handbags that are not made of leather. The question I posed then: Is not using a controversial material for a handbag a worthy-enough reason to be labeled as eco-groovy?

So what do you think: Is McDonald’s on the right path with its green efforts? Or is the company just trying to appease its detractors?

Yet another question came to mind when I read this story: Is McDonald’s such a familiar symbol that it can get away with changing its logo? The Golden Arches often come up in surveys of the most recognizable logos worldwide. I doubt, though, that changing the background is going to be a death knell to the European outposts. After all, Coca-Cola and Pepsi seem to be doing fine despite the fact that they’ve changed their logos numbers of times since their inceptions.

What do you think – when, if ever, is it OK to change your logo?


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