Gary Littman


Garry Littman is the owner and director of The Language House in Geneva which organises English language training for professional people, companies and students. He was a radio and newspaper journalist in his native Australia and ran a restaurant in Kathmandu in his younger days. He is an English language trainer and an aficionado of pétanque.

Message to McDonalds: We do give a fork

McDonalds, the world’s largest fast food chain is cutting costs. The first thing to go are forks. The restaurant has announced its decision with a new marketing campaign: We don’t give a fork.

The billboards around Geneva look like this below and this is what the TV commercial in Zurich looks like.


Yep, no more forks folks. The move will save money and potentially hundreds of patrons who might be tempted to self-harm under the golden arches.

Well, that’s what it might sound like to many non-native English-speaking patrons.

We don’t give a fork is actually a play-on-words (jeu de mots) for a rude and crude expression ‘I don’t give a fuck’, used by angry adolescents, rap artists and nasty people who comment on websites. It’s a rude way to say, I don’t care, or in this case, We don't care.

WTF! (What the Fork!) I hear you say.

Fuck and its fork and fcuk sound-alikes have become the go-to-words for cheap sensational marketing. People now wear the word, which was once dangerous and taboo. The McDonalds slogan sticks a pitchfork deep in the F-word’s last remnants of disrespectability.

It’s a bizarre choice of double entendre for a company that has been trying to shake off its chronic reputation as a leader in obesity and other health-related issues among children and adults, not to forget pink slime, deforestation and low-paid and poor work conditions.

McDonalds has obviously decided that reverse psychology or perhaps honesty is the best way forward on the road to corporate responsibility.

There are many reasons why McDonalds should give a fork. The chain has more than 30,000 restaurants around the world. In the UK alone, McDonalds sells 3.8 million meals a day.

But the main reason why McDonalds and we, the public, should care is that the restaurant chain is the world’s largest distributor of toys. McDonalds, as most parents know, is marketed directly to children. It is present in schools, sports and hospitals around the world. It is prominent in the lives of most young people.

Surely McDonalds meant to say: Yes, we do give a fork. Yes, we do care.

Message to McDonalds: I’m not lovin’ it.







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