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Canadian Pharmacy Promotes McDonald’s … This is not a Joke

I was perusing some websites this morning as part of my research for an upcoming blog post on Canadian pharmacies, and I was stunned to see the following on my screen:


Canadian pharmacy promotes eating at a McDonalds restaurant.


That’s right: Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix , Canadian pharmacies that promote healthcare, are holding a McDonald’s restaurant promotion.  Sounds absurd, but it is true.  Shop and buy a certain value of goods in order to receive gift certificates to the fast food restaurant.  Note that Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation is the licensor of full-service retail drug stores operating under the name Shoppers Drug Mart® (Pharmaprix®in Québec).

Details on the promotion are found below:

The promotion also shows up on their ‘Contact us’ page.  Ironically, right underneath the McDonald’s promotion, there is a link to a guide to health and wellness during the cold and flu season as well as the Motherisk program for pregnant women (on the home page) and a promotion for Tree of Life in support of women’s health (on the ‘Contact us’ page).

I have never ranted on my blog before, nor have I ever intentionally pointed out poor marketing tactics.  No marketer is perfect, but this is just too unreal to disregard.  How can reputable drugstores like Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix talk about healthcare on one hand and then help promote eating at a fast food restaurant afterwards.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I eat at fast food restaurants on occasion, so this is not an anti fast food post, although I would certainly not promote it.

What I am upset about is the fact that a trusted Canadian healthcare organization is actively promoting an activity that is clearly not a healthy choice.  There is a substantial disconnect between Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix’  message and their current fast food promotion.  The pharmacy is sending out the wrong message to its consumers, and in my opinion, it risks losing credibility as a result, at least for the short-term.

Tsk tsk Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix!  In your “About us” page, you talk about “accoutability”.  You didn’t live up to this promise with your current McDonald’s promotion.  Please consider cancelling this promotion and stay focused on helping Canadians improve their health. We would all like to live a little longer and a little healthier, and we need healthcare organizations like yours to remind us and motivate us to do the right things to be healthy.

What do you think Pharmaprix should do as their next step?  Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.


13 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Value [the] Meal and Nat Bourre, Nat Bourre. Nat Bourre said: #Canadian #Pharmacy Promotes fast food restaurant (McDonald's) … This is not a Joke http://bit.ly/cnwtMI #hcsmca #hcsm #hcsmeu #pharmacy […]

  2. […] to Criticism Posted on October 18, 2010 by marketing4health Last week, I posted about Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix’ latest promotion, where consumers who purchased a certain value of goods at the drugstore would receive a free gift […]

  3. This promotion is no longer on the website, but here’s a couple of ways this partnership could be “spun” (or has) –

    – it’s all about consumer choice!

    – but isn’t mcdonald’s trying to do better, by offering healthier alternatives like apple wedges instead of non-biodegradable (just joking) happy meals

    – it’s a win-win in the long run when you think about it, both for McD and the pharmacy.


  4. […] promotion is no longer on the corporate website, so you will have to visit Nat’s blog to see the screenshot she captured when those coupons were prominently displayed at the […]

  5. fast foods are of course very popular these days because the price is cheap and there are lots of menu to choose from ‘

    • Very true, and I admit that my family and I indulge every once in a while in fast food. I cannot blame McDonalds for promoting their services with Shoppers Drug Mart. They had nothing to lose in this partnership. However, I expect a healthcare store or service provider to be wiser in their choice of partners.

  6. As a marketing trainwreck, this story just gets better and better. I acquired one of those McDonald’s $10 gift cards from my local Pharmaprix on Oct. 16. I’m not a frequent customer at McDonald’s, but I do pick up the occasional coffee when a location is convenient. On November 8, I went into an outlet, ordered a coffee, and when I swiped the card, the terminal informed me that it had expired. Incredulous, I examined the card closely, and sure enough, it had an expiry date of November 7, 2010. Now, there was a balance of at least $5 on that card. Should I feel like an idiot for not reading the fine print? Or should I feel like my pocket’s been picked by Shoppers and McDonald’s? Well I’ve been getting my subscriptions filled at this pharmacy for the last fifteen years. I’m planning to go visit the owner/pharmacist tomorrow to find out exactly how much she values my continued patronage. Between you and me, it had better be at least $5 worth. There’s a Jean Coutu pharmacy nearby that can do just as good a job at filling my subscriptions – maybe better.

  7. Bob, thanks for the note. That was a very short expiry for sure. Hope you get some satisfaction after you speak with the owner. Personally, I like the promotions where they increase the Optimum point value. No expiry on those! At least, not that I’m aware of.

  8. i have a very busy lifestyle too, and i would always frequently eat on Fastfoods .~;

  9. To put this in better perspective, most drug stores also sell chips, pop, cookies, chocolate bars, candy, etc. Furthermore, in the states, I believe you can still buy cigarettes at drug stores.

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