To ring in the new year or, more likely, to put a coda on its terrible 2014, McDonald's scrapped its old take-out bags. And good for them.
The last set were a desperate phantasmagoria of chunky blocks, laden with the burden of too many options and reminiscent of the cheapness of old 42nd Street, or a greasy carnival barker hawking self-fulfilling disappointment.
The new ones may mimic other, more minimalist paper offerings in the fast-food kingdom, but in narrowing its message to a logo, a cartoon image of a burger or different menu item, and some big block lettering, McDonald's is doing more than just redesigning. The simplification of the McDonald's bag is actually both a physical and metaphorical vessel for a greater paring down of the bounty contained within the Golden Arches.
After posting a 30 percent quarterly drop in profit in October, McDonald's CEO Don Thompson announced that changes would be coming to the empire, including fewer menu options and customization of both sandwiches and value meals. Later in the year, the company announced it would interchange a new slogan "Lovin' Is Greater Than Hating" with its "I'm Lovin' It" catchphrase, a rebuke against the company's digital consortium of detractors, big and small.