Anti-Capitalist Movie Avatar Partners With McDonalds for Corporate Marketing Push
McDonalds has been running ads co-branding with Avatar, has created Avatar “digital experiences”, and has featured Avatar toys in Happy Meals.
Cameron said on the Today Show “[Greed] tends to destroy the environment.”
McDonalds is allegedly very destructive to the environment, so Cameron isn’t really upholding the lessons of his own film.
In 2006, Greenpeace accused McDonalds of accentuating the destruction of rainforests, by using soybeans grown in rainforest regions for animal feed.
Feeding cows and providing the power to operate an international network of franchises requires a lot of energy. Treehugger reports that a single hamburger creates about 7 pounds of carbon emissions. Besides carbon, beef takes up grazing land, food, water and other resources. Environmentalists have estimated the water costs at 12,009 gallons per pound of beef.
McDonalds isn’t the only corporate partner involved with Cameron’s $300 million production.
The LG eXpo projector phone has also been running a co-branding campaign with the phone projecting an Avatar trailer.
Cameron claims “Great wealth makes me uncomfortable,” and he has a track record of producing “quasi-Marxist epic[s],” as Newsweek described Titanic. Cameron himself said that Titanic was “holding just short of Marxist dogma.”
Critic James Kendrick pointed out Titanic, Aliens and The Abyss as three Cameron films that include Marxist overtones.
Certainly Avatar can be added to that list. Along with the global warming message—Popular Science calls it “every militant global warming supporter’s dream come true”—it has also been described as “blatant anti-military” and “anti-American.”
The idea of the corporate partnership itself (or a $300 million movie) is a very capitalist idea in and of itself—made more so because McDonalds is so often targeted by radical critics for not being “socially responsible.”
Apart from their alleged environmental impacts, McDonalds has been criticized for causing obesity, exploiting third-world countries, harming animals and mistreating labor. (A litany of their offenses can be found in this 1986 fact sheet produced by London Greenpeace (not affiliated with Greenpeace International).) McDonalds was voted among the top 10 least “socially or environmentally responsible companies,” according to a BBMG report released in March, 2009.
The overall marketing budget for Avatar (apart from the often-quoted production budget) is $150 million.
James Cameron said that much of the evil of the world “can be attributed to the concentration of wealth and power with a few,” and his movie is helping to increase that concentration among interested parties.
He says that great wealth makes him uncomfortable. I hope he feels uncomfortable now.