On a billboard strategically placed to be seen by millions of SF Giants fans, a new McDonalds advertisement claims that in their French fries, the potato has been perfected. It hasn’t been just improved, or made to taste better. It has been perfected. I disagree with their claim and find the advertisement to be offensive and misleading in a beautiful and brilliant way. Here’s why.
If you stand in the parking lot next to the ballpark and look South, you’ll see the ad. It’s a beautiful red billboard with a larger than life potato on the left and crispy golden French fries on the right, all framed by a clear blue Summer sky. The copy is short, simple, and brilliant — the potato. perfected. — a message that will convince even the most health conscious to demand “yes!” when asked “would you like fries with that?”
Why is it offensive? Two reasons. First, the potato is already perfect. In fact it has been perfected by Nature in the thousands of varieties cultivated in the Peruvian Andes for centuries. Second, eating too many servings of fries is unhealthy and far from being a perfect meal. What about the fries in the Peruvian Lomo Saltado beef stir fry you ask? Why am I not opposed to having fries in that dish and what is the difference? Serving size.
In the Lomo Saltado, the ratio of the beef strips, onions, tomatoes, and French fries is balanced and has less fries by weight than a small order of McDonalds fries. If you look at the nutrition information provided by McDonalds, a small order is 2.5 oz. and has 230 calories of fat. So what can you do? If you do order fries, be mindful of the number of servings you eat. But here’s another more radical suggestion, learn to cook potatoes in different ways. In Peru, the potato is enjoyed in dishes such as potato and pesto salad, in a lamb stew or dried potato stew, as mashed potatoes, or fries in a beef stir fry. And if you cook it, the perfect potato will be found in your kitchen, not at McDonalds.