McDonald’s denies unrest as branches shut in Jordan

AMMAN, JORDAN: Fast-food giant McDonald’s this week pledged further PR efforts to ‘clear misconceptions’ surrounding local ownership and the corporate responsibility of its operations in Jordan.

The pledge follows a TV programme, shown last week, called What the World Thinks of America, which examined reasons why the US and US-headquartered firms are disliked, including a slot on McDonald’s in Jordan.

McDonald’s Jordan this week told PRWeek that consumer boycotts driven by anti-American sentiment had had only a ‘transient effect’, and it pledged further PR work to ‘highlight’ its local investment in the country.

Ali Faour, regional PR account director at Dubai’s Promoseven PR – McDonald’s retained PR agency – denied that the closure of two restaurants in Jordan, as highlighted in the BBC programme, had been related to consumers withholding patronage.

She said the restaurants had shut because one was ‘located in a downtown area undergoing reconstruction’ and the other because the shopping mall in which it was located had closed.

McDonald’s Jordan spokesperson Farah Armoush said the focus of the three-strong in-house marcoms team’s PR would continue to strive to ‘clear misperceptions that sur-round McDonald’s Jordan’s ownership’.

‘McDonald’s Jordan is locally owned and operated and has no political agendas,’ added Armoush, who insisted the ‘peak of emotional reactions to American brands’ had passed, and McDonald’s Jordan had seen a ‘healthy return’ of patrons since ‘misperceptions’ had begun to ‘clear’.

Armoush said McDonald’s World Children’s Day, to be held on 20 November, would form the next focus of PR activity for the company, whose first restaurant opened in Jordan in 1996.

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