McDonald's wants your Face on a Cheeseburger Package

McDonald's starts to involve customers in their marketing acitivities - at least kind of (source: AP via Yahoo):
The world's largest fast-food company announced what it called an online casting call Monday, giving customers a chance to be featured on its packaging used daily in more than 100 countries.

As many as 25 winners will be chosen from consumers' entries at, where hopefuls must submit a personal story of what they love in 100 words or less — in any of 16 languages — and a digital photo capturing the essence of their story.

It's all part of McDonald's Corp.'s latest push behind its ubiquitous "I'm lovin' it" advertising campaign.

The company said it will select its new packaging "stars" based on submissions that capture the "I'm lovin' it" spirit with themes of inspiration, passion and fun.

"Our first online global casting call uses technology in a new approach to bring the energy and spirit of 'I'm lovin' it' to life by connecting with consumers and giving them a stage on which to express themselves about the things they love," said Mary Dillon, McDonald's global chief marketing officer.
Giving consumers a stage on which to express themselves ? Really ??

Well, having a customer's stupid mug shot on a bag with a burger certainly can create some buzz. But one can hardly call this Brand Journalism or real Cosumer Empowerment. And as Steve Rubel rightly notes "it does not utilize any of the tools that consumers are already using to share - e.g. their blogs, myspace pages, Flickr photostreams, etc."

The whole thing looks like what it is: a part of the usual "ubiquitous advertising campaign" with the standard top-down approach and the 100% controlled environment, which conventional marketers love so much, although it kills the whole campaign from the start by making it totally boring...

But what can we expect from a company whose official policy for customer involvement looks like this:
Unsolicited Ideas

Thank you for your interest to share an idea for a product or service that you believe would be beneficial to McDonald's. Please know, however, that it is McDonald's company's policy not to consider unsolicited ideas from anyone other than our corporate employees, franchise owners and dedicated suppliers. (...)
Translation: Hey customer, shut up and don't bore us with your stupid ideas. Buy our stuff and leave the rest to us professionals !

As I said before: for some it's still a long way to go to open source marketing nirvana...

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