25th - 26th SEPTEMBER 2019  |  OLYMPIA

Would you rather wear Amazon’s disembodied grin or McDonald’s?

Ad Age 06 Dec 2019 03:01

McDonald’s just released a line of branded merch, including a T-shirt showing the smile that appears on the side of Happy Meal boxes, as Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl reports.

We experienced a certain uncomfortable shock of recognition seeing this particular disembodied smile further disembodied (disemboxed?) from its fast-food-related context and afixed to a plane of cotton. Because at this very moment, another American megacorporation, Amazon, is endlessly running holiday-themed commercials that call attention to its own signature disembodied smile that is also customarily slapped on the side of a box—and similarly appears on a T-shirt you can buy.

It’s unclear what became of the visages that these smiles once belonged to. It’s chilling to contemplate how the faces’ other features might have been lost (horrific grease fires and warehouse mishaps come to mind). Then again, it’s possible these smiles were solo acts from the get-go—perhaps hatched in Petri dishes, in windowless research laboratories, to do one job, and one job only: to smile, always and forever. To smile through the pain. To, well, grin and bear it.

Anyway, if you’ve been looking to don a corporately-mandated, joyless rictus on your chest, your options are now doubled.

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