We imagine McDonald's started out with the best of intentions -- or at least the desire to sell its products -- when it began advertising in Hmong on billboards in St. Paul, Minn. The city is home to tens of thousands of Hmong people, which is more than any other U.S. city.
Unfortunately, it seems the fast food giant didn't take pains to double-check the grammar on the sign's text, which even to the untrained eye, looks a bit off.
As of now, the sign reads, "Yuavtxhawbpabraukojsawv yuavntxivzograukoj mus." Speaking to St. Paul Pioneer Press, local doctor Thai Lee sums up the community's grievances best. The text is wrong, missing key breaks in the language. "As it stands right now, it doesn't make sense at all."
But Lee's concern with the ad goes beyond grammar:
"I think it's great that more mainstream businesses are realizing the buying (and) consumer power of the Hmong community," he said. "(But) chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and obesity are already a major health concern in the Hmong community. Most of this is attributed to the changing westernized eating behaviors that Hmong people have adapted to. McDonald's should instead focus more on healthy eating."
McDonald's apologized on Tuesday for the ad in a statement from McDonald's Midwest Region's marketing director, Gregg Miskiel, published by the Associated Press:
We strive to reach our guests in relevant ways including the use of in-language messaging. While it was our intention to create a special message for our Hmong population in Minnesota, we now realize that an error was made in the translation of "Coffee Gets You Up, Breakfast Gets You Going." It was not our intention to offend anyone and we apologize for the error. We are working with our local advertising agency to correct these billboards and will re-post next week.
AdWeek's David Gianatasio wonders why McDonald's bothered to include text in their ad at all. "Simply plastering the town with 10-foot-high Big Macs, fries and Golden Arches should do nicely," he writes.
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America's Drive-In rounds out the top 10 with U.S. revenues of $3.6 billion.
KFC, the biggest chicken vendor in America, comes in ninth with revenues of $4.7 billion, though there were 107 fewer outposts in August 2011 than there were the year before.
8. Pizza Hut
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/27/pizza-hut-ads_n_911106.html" target="_hplink">Good ads</a> equal big revenues for the biggest pizza chain in America. Pizza Hut took in a solid $5.4 billion in 2010.
7. Dunkin Donuts
America runs on Dunkin' to the tune of $6 billion a year -- that's almost $20 for each and every person in the country.
6. Taco Bell
2010 U.S. revenues of $6.9 billion make Taco Bell the biggest Mexican restaurant chain in the country.
Starbucks may have had a few hiccups <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/13/starbucks-bistro-boxes_n_897768.html" target="_hplink">when it comes to introducing food</a>. But its success in beverages has propelled American's biggest coffee purveyor into fifth place among fast food chains, with 2010 revenues of $7.6 billion.
Wendy's fries may be <a href="http://www.slashfood.com/2011/04/20/wendys-fries-vs-mcdonalds-fries-taste-test/" target="_hplink">number one</a>, but its revenues aren't there quite yet.
3. Burger King
Number two burger chain Burger King was sold for $3.26 billion to 3G Capital in 2009. 2010 revenues of $8.6 billion make that sound like a deal to us! (We know, we know, there's a difference between revenues and profits...)
Subway has the most outlets of any fast food brand; it expanded that total by 816 in the past year alone. But because each store is relatively small, revenues, at $10 billion, pale in comparison with those at the number one chain.
With revenues standing at a whopping $32.4 billion in 2010, the Golden Arches aren't being dethroned any time soon. What's surprising about its success is that per store sales at McDonald's are bigger than those even cult-ish brands with fewer outlets. With $2.4 million <em>per store</em>, they're second only to Chick Fil-A, which fans travel miles to visit.