Bickmore grilled in Mac attack

TEN’s Carrie Bickmore came under fire yesterday after it was acknowledged that her reference to McCafes was  actually part of a sponsored segment for Oprah.

Bickmore told Oprah Winfrey Aussies love to meet at McCafes during her hosting of a segment at the request of Winfrey.

“While there are a lot of differences, there is one comforting similarity,” Bickmore told the Big O. “While you have your diners, we have McCafes. Guys come for business meetings, girls come for a catch-up over coffee. It’s all just a little bit fancy.”

Yesterday The Australian confirmed McDonald’s had sponsored the segment:
The Australian asked the Ten Network and McDonald’s about the curious reference and they confirmed McDonald’s was a “broadcast sponsor and had a global arrangement directly with Harpo Productions for the in-program McCafe activity that appeared in Carrie’s segment”.

On Twitter Bickmore became the target of numerous gags and became one of Australia’s top topics:
“McScrew up? TV personality Carrie Bickmore has been labelled a sell-out after an Oprah segment said Aussies drink coffee at McDonalds.”

“Carrie Bickmore should take the criticism with a grain of salt…an all beef patty, mayo, pickles and a sesame seed bun.”

“Now americans think that we go to maccas in kangaroos to have coffee there. Thanks maccas and carrie bickmore.”

“I like Carrie Bickmore but admittedly, am disappointed by the shameless Macca’s plug. It’s not just her fault but Channel 10’s. All about $$”

The Drum said:
So it was that Channel Ten “current affairs” hostess Carrie Bickmore presented a special Aussie Countdown to introduce Australiana to 10 million viewing Americans last week. Coming from a woman who fulfils a weekday public role that is nominally journalistic, you might expect this to be an honest appraisal of Bickmore’s homeland prepared from the heart and with the deep knowledge of a country that only a native might bring. But that wouldn’t fit into the mould of modern infotainment.

The Age said:
Now it makes sense why Channel Ten’s Carrie Bickmore dropped the word ”McDonald’s” in her segment on Oprah’s Aussie Countdown, a TV special that was supposed to be about Aussie culture. The fast-food giant is a sponsor of Oprah’s Down Under roadshow, a handy fact revealed in Rupert’s Australian.

The Courier Mail quoted several Aussie coffee retailers:
“I was quite surprised. I don’t think it’s a very clear reflection of the Sydney coffee trend,” Aileen Young says. “It’s probably not showing Australian coffee culture in the right light … I don’t think it’s correct to say this is the way Australians drink coffee.”

TEN says Bickmore wasn’t paid to do the segment, but this really gets away from the point of discerning editorial versus advertorial. A McDonald’s logo did appear at the end of the show.

Bickmore’s reference was possibly at the instruction of a Producer, however it is also a measure of a journalist whether they are comfortable with their material or not.

Winfrey and two Qantas planes with American audiences are expected to touch down in Sydney this morning.

66 Comments:

  1. umbrage, rah rah rah ….

    Everything on Oprah’s giveaway shows are sponsored. The Oprah empire is like the Bond film franchise.

    * McCafes have a much smaller presence in the US. McDonalds is pushing it to compete against Starbucks (they make a lot of money from drive thru consumers).

  2. I remember when I watched it I was very taken aback with the very obvious shilling of McD’s. Whilst the McCafes are OK, they do not even begin to remotely represent the vigorous and booming cafe culture we have here in Australia. It was so obvious and so incongruous in the context of the segment that I thought that it must have been advertorial. Then, when all the audience were treated to Aussie style McD’s chili chicken wraps after Carrie’s segment aired, I realised it must have been paid advertising content. Very disappointing, but advertorial comment is now par for the course on both radio and TV these days.

  3. I’ve met up with the girls at a McCafe a numbr of times for a catch up. And I’ve seen guys having business meetings at them too. So why all the fuss? What she’s saying is true in many circumstances!

  4. This would have been a tough decision on Bickmore’s part, huge exposure on a show she’d aspire to be a part of but in order to do it she has lose all intergrity and any career ethics and embarrass, alienate and aggrivate herself to her own country.

    Ultimately this was no more disingenuous than any of her hosting/reporting. Thinking back to when she was brought into Rove and she would say and ask horribly awkward and innappropriate things to guests, I remember particularly when Anne Hathaway was on one time she said something about Anne being overweight and being dressed inappropriately, jaw droppingly thoughtless and stupid but mostly thoughtless as not only was it not true she clearly had spent not a microsecond considering what she was about to say. Can her. Look how much more likeable any of the girls who fill in for her are.

  5. Having just watch the actual clip, clearly the last third of the segment an infomerical – Carrie is standing inside a Maccas, and there are shots of the store and “Aussie” menu.

    Its not like she just drops in a line about McCafe and hopes you won’t notice.

  6. Stop bitching about McCafes….if no one drank coffee there they would go out of business…but they don’t..they keep growing, so alot of people are obviously going there, and Maccas is just one of the hundreds of businesses to jump on the ‘Oprah’ bandwagon while she is here,and why not?..it’s a boost for them to be associated with such a huge brand that is Oprah.

  7. @Janey Because it was a horrible, tacky and untrue commercial that any self-respecting journalist who wasn’t just desperate to be on Oprah would have said no to. Of course most TV shows feature sponsored bits, but this was completely over-the-top and worst of all, was purporting to teach Oprah about the country. There are ways to do sponsored pieces honestly, even informatively, and this was not it.

  8. Any journalistic credibility Carrie Bickmore ever had has now gone down the drain. They claim their 7PM Project show is “current affairs”, but it’s hardly that.

  9. If anyone out there is surprised at this, you need your head checked.

    Of course it a sponsor. McDonalds has the money to advertise on and in EVERYTHING! What do you expect, it’s a business!

    And as if QANTAS hasn’t done the same thing.

    They whole thing has been paid for, it’s all about money, even the money that we as tax payers are forking out for this visit

    Get over it people and stop bashing 7pm project!

  10. Anyone who sees the 7PM Project as a legitimate source of news and current affairs isn’t likely to notice or care that their national identity is being sold off to a multi-national corporation by an American billionaire without their consent.

  11. To be honest I thought it was a little bit obvious the McDonalds sponsership when at the end of the segment after Carrie had talked about Maccas they brought out Macca’s stuff for Oprah and her audience that, that was the reason for the McDonalds references.
    And this was hardly an expose on 60 Minutes. It was a light hearted segment on Oprah to additionally promote Oprah’s visit to Australia. It really isn’t a big deal.

  12. So wait… People are calling Carrie Bickmore – the same Carrie Bickmore of yawnsome commercial pap like Rove and The 7pm Project – a sell out? Duh!!

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