You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

Ngày: 16-12-2014


“It was so good, I almost peed my pants!”


That is a classical exclamative sentence of Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) in the great romantic movie Pretty Woman.


Vivian was a streetwalker in Hollywood, which was the consequence of her situation. One day, Vivian caught Edward Lewis’s eyes (Richard Gere), a single billionaire, and was taken to a luxury hotel. Thanks to her gifted beauty and straightforward personality trait, Edward hired her to live with him another 1 week and take the role play of his girlfriend during his business appointment.


Vivian uttered these words when a rich women asked if she liked the opera. The women immediately astonished and speechless by the street slangs. While Edward silently smiled because he saw tears streaming down on her face during the touched opera though opera is a “royal” musical kind that seemed to be difficult for Vivian to understand.


The exclamative sentence was derived from her behavior while the tears came form her good nature. Behaviors are created through situations and can be changed while nature is the inner and hard to change.


In the recent years, fast food brands have tried to change themselves in a more environmental and consumer health-friendly manner. Let’s say, McDonald’s. In England, numerous McDonald’s restaurants have changed their red (the typical identity color of McDonald’s) into green. Everything from restaurants, staff uniform, menu, posters are now in green, instead of the familiar red. Even the yellow arrow symbol is also replaced by the question mark to synchronize with its new tagline “McDonald’s. But not as you know it.”


This change brings certain good points such as more organized and friendly restaurants and appraisals from environmental associations (good impact to CSR).

However, you can’t judge a book by its cover. McDonald’s should listen to its customer feedbacks.


“No amount of rebranding is going to change what people think about it,” said Tim Lyley from The Guardian. The main menu of McDonald’s is still sausage, French fries and bread. McDonald’s is the brand associated with kids, which creates their brand equity but is also its “Achilles heel”. The more children get obese, the more people criticize McDonald’s. Tom Barners, a graphic designer, even claimed that “I don’t think their ethical policies have changed much with a coat of paint.” In marketing, changing the perception seems to be impossible. McDonald’s has successful in making brand awareness (the brand name is equivalent to the fast food industry). And they are wrestling to dissolve the social negative perception on this industry.



“It was so good, I almost peed my pants!”



What’s the colorful street language! But the language is not the nature of Vivian Ward and she doesn’t live all her life with it. The real value of human lies in the true tears. Inside her, there is a sparkling inner beauty. Instead of lump sum of bucks, she eventually received the romantic proposal from the billionaire Edward Lewis.


In the end of 2013, the first McDonald’s restaurant was open in HCMC. There is the familiar yellow arrow symbol of McDonald’s. No green here.


Though McDonald’s “goes green”, it is just fast food brand. Its real value and positioning cannot be changed due to a new green coat. Consumers may happy at the relaxed green or environment-friendly decorations but they obviously can only “get married” to McDonald’s due to its famous Big Mac and French fries.


Nguyen Duc Son

Brand Strategy Director – Richard Moore Associates



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