Mac attack

Tom Whitwell

Blah Blah Blah; February 1997

The Internet was always supposed to be about freedom of information, anarchy and GLOBAL REVOLUTION NOW! But apart from a few banned books and revolutionaries on-line, the Web is really about big companies selling stuff. McSpotlight is a tasty treat among the E.Coli-infected wastes of corporate web sites. It's a simple site dedicated to one compelling subject: all you never wanted to know about McDonald's before biting into that juicy Big Mac: from the company's environmental record, to just what is in their burgers, to how much they pay the English graduates who serve the fries.

On the way to their first anniversary, the team behind McSpotlight launched this appropriately naughty series of ads on the London Underground, taking existing ads and making them their own with liberal use of Pritt-Stick and stickybacked plastic.

The site itself is a similar mix of clever DIY and polished results. Along with more written information than you could ever need, McSpotlight's highpoint is a split-screen guided tour of the official McDonald's web site, ruthlessly picking apart their claims about health and nutrition. In fact, McSpotlight - put together in a north London front room on borrowed computers - is far slicker and more professional than McDonald's' on-line offering.

Though the site is produced in London, the information is held on computers in Holland, the US, New Zealand and Finland to avoid legal problems, particularly those related to the case of Helen Steel and Dave Morris, the 'McLibel Two'. The pair are currently being sued by McDonalds over the contents of a leaflet they allegedly produced in 1986. With no legal aid available, they're defending themselves, and with over 160 witnesses called, it has become the longest trial in British legal history. A judgement is expected sometime this summer. Until then, make up your own mind.

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