Horror in Cleveland as Amanda Berry escapes years of captivity with the help of a neighbor, who just happens to be in earshot and able to assist. Three women are rescued — girls when abducted, lives forever changed.
“I heard screaming. I’m eating my McDonald’s, I come outside, I see this girl going nuts trying to get out of her house. So I go on the porch and she says ‘help me get out, I been in here a long time.”
Welcome a hero, Charles Ramsey. You knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms. Now you’re the newest internet sensation, the latest in a series of offbeat entries in the continuing local news realty show known as “hilarious black neighbor.”
The man paints a picture and effortlessly ropes you into the rest of what he has to say.
More importantly, a perfectly delivered ad pitch and ridiculously sly name drop. You won’t notice you’re parroting McDonald’s Corporation after repeating the line for several weeks and aren’t even mildly bothered to realize that’s exactly what you’ve been doing.
And talk about effective:
We salute the courage of Ohio kidnap victims & respect their privacy. Way to go Charles Ramsey- we’ll be in touch.
— McDonald’s Corp. (@McDonaldsCorp) May 7, 2013
Well before introducing us to “we eat ribs and whatnot,” take note of how the hero dishes out the moneymaker immediately in the set-up. Not wasting any time, it grabs you — “eating my McDonald’s” — then you’re left to bathe in the artistry that is Charles Ramsey.
Fact is, it’s impossible to ponder any angle of this blessed rescue — the Ramsey interview, the path to safety for these abused young women, practically anything to do with the story — without McDonald’s trailing somewhere in the back of your mind. It’s brilliant.
Later confirmed: McDonald’s gives Charles Ramsey free food for a year.
Forget that this well-meaning corporate gesture will likely cause Ramsey to lose a leg to type 2 diabetes, today’s payout is only the beginning. There’s even a video game — Charles Ramsey Burger Bash.
Here’s to the new product placement — advertisers crafting seemingly natural moments, hiring highly-skilled African-American actors to be at the right place and right time and using the camera as a forum to weave company names and/or product info into the fabric that is the United States of America.
The most clever ad spots you’ll never know you’re watching, YouTube videos as light subliminal advertising — continually-running FREE endorsements with tremendous upside in revenue potential. With millions of hits at stake, it sure beats $4 million for 30-seconds during the Super Bowl.
McDonald’s knows. In actuality, these interviews are heavily scripted, workshopped and field-tested so carefully that consumers don’t even realize they’re being played — lost in a comfortable, down-home and natural vibe.
I know what you’re thinking: “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
Hard work, the pure power to entertain mixed with an amazing story to tell — but it wasn’t always this easy. One must focus on the prize. When the camera’s light flashes red, you must be prepared. Don’t think just anyone can do it, these people are professionals.
… he failed to unmask the outrageous potential of turning it into a marketing vehicle. Where Michelle Clark used her moment to demonstrate the immense value of inserting a catchphrase into her supposedly ad lib spot …
… she never got around to product placement out of admirable concern for her mom’s well-being. And that’s the point — what if Ramsey doesn’t sell the line? For all we know, he specifically forgot to identify the product he was eating to be the new Egg White Delight McMuffin [100%, freshly grilled egg whites, extra lean Canadian bacon and smooth white cheddar, stacked on a toasted whole grain English muffin].
It’s possible McDonald’s ad wizards learned from the mistakes made by Sweet Brown — when she failed to incorporate the words, “Unwrap Whats Fresh” [highlighting the savory smoky bacon flavor on the new Chicken & Bacon Premium McWrap] into into her legendary “Ain’t nobody got time for that” spot.
All we know for certain — in that crucial instance when a fire swept her apartment and set off her bronchitis — Brown “woke up to go get me a cold pop.” At that very moment, a tractor trailer loaded with Cheerwine was radioed and told to return to the warehouse.
Far too much goes into these commercials now to leave anything to chance. Teams of Madison Avenue staffers work diligently in the background, putting in countless hours to make it all look seamless.
You’re saying, “So wait? These are all staged?”
That’s exactly correct.
“McDonald’s hired a seriously ugly dude to kidnap and rape young girls, paid for abortions and whatever assorted BBQ this pig shared with neighbors while listening to salsa music? This was a brilliant advertising strategy close to 15 years in the making — well before the advent of YouTube?”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
Then consider the odds against landing that type of opportunity. Doesn’t it seem a bit too coincidental that Charles Ramsey was the person walking in front of the house at that exact moment? Why him? Why not some less entertaining neighbor, someone with nothing close to a believable delivery? Someone eating food he made from scratch?
It makes all the sense in the world. Or maybe it was coincidence. The point is …
By all means, rehearse your very own YouTube moment, strive to be the hero. Camera in your face, reporter starts asking questions, be ready to nail that line. Just don’t be surprised if a well-trained African-American character actor pushes you out of the way at the very moment you’re about to be speak and he or she reaps the spoils of becoming the latest internet superstar.
And when you’re home watching what could have been your words auto-tuned, think back on what you planned to say. If it’s not, “I’m in the house thinking, if I had a Sony Vaio laptop, I could Verizon Makers Mark my Lexus Coca-Cola Buffalo Wild Wings Taco Bell,” you’ll understand why they went viral and you didn’t.
© 2013, Soapy Johnson. All rights reserved.