The brilliance of McDonald’s “Quarter Pounder”

McDonalds has had the Quarter Pounder on its menu for decades.  It sounds impressive.  A full quarter pound of beef!  While clearly not as impressive the Big Mac, the Quarter Pounder certainly must be a respectable burger. . . . . . . as long as you don’t do the math.  A quarter pound of beef is 4 ounces.  I did a little research and found several BBQ themed sites suggesting that 4 ounces is a typical patty size.  Of course, they go on to say that a single patty burger is good for kids and adults with lighter appetites.  Burger joints and steak houses start to highlight the size of their burgers once they hit 6 to 8 ounces.  So the impressive Quarter Pounder is really more of a typical burger . . . . . at least for kids and adults with lighter appetites.

To be clear, I’m not saying that the 4 ounce burger at McDonalds is brilliant.  It is the name, i.e. “Quarter Pounder,” that is brilliant.  Pound don’t do math, especially at lunch.  Fractions aren’t inherent in our normal thought process.  By giving the 4 ounce burger an impressive sounding name, McDonalds has been able to influence its customer’s thought processes.

Don’t get me wrong.  This post isn’t bashing either McDonald’s food or their manipulative tactics.  I’m a champion of continual learning from any and all sources.  In this case, what can we learn from a McDonald’s burger?  Great question.  From a perspective as a Business Coach, this concept of giving something a name can be a powerful tool for my clients.  It can be used in both positively naming a goal and negatively naming an obstacle.

By naming certain things intentionally and purposefully, we can either empower the positive or weaken the negative.  For example, there is a great video of Tony Robbins working with a stutterer.  Tony has the client visualize the powerful self he wants to be and the client named it “The Warrior.”  The client assigned every positive thing he wanted to be into The Warrior.  When the client felt weak, he would remind himself that he was The Warrior.  In a similar way, clients can name their procrastinating tendencies and when they feel they are procrastinating, they can tell themselves to stop being . . . . . whatever they named those tendencies.

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