MCMUMMIES WITH FLIES: PR STUNT OR ARCHAEOLOGICAL GOLD?
25th October, 2011
Related News: News
Two Mummies have been found buried under a McDonald’s restaurant in the Staffordshire town of Tamworth. The hullabaloo that has ensued has made me wonder whether this is a ploy by the infamous restaurant to attract even more publicity and not just a lucky coincidence.
But how did the mummies get there in the first place?
The story goes that reverend William Macgregor brought this pair of mummies from Egypt to the UK in the 1920’s. The reverend exhibited them in a private museum, but when they started to deteriorate was forced to find a permanent resting place. He buried them under the foundations of the Tamworth Palace cinema which is now a McDonald’s.
Large restaurant chains are not above exploiting ancient artefacts, historical events, the bizarre or even the after-life as PR stunts. Is it possible that McDonald’s is doing the same, especially as Halloween is so close? Dr Zahi Hawass, director of the Pyramids region in Cairo, has asked for the mummies to be dug up and returned to Egypt. In response, McDonalds has politely declined, stating that retrieving the fossils is not a ‘viable’ option. But how did he find out in the first place? Could it be that McDonald’s PR team rang him up and asked him whether the mummies needed to be moved?
The actual mummies are buried under the fast-food’s Tamworth outlet. But was their discovery staged by McDonald’s or is the company just an innocent victim of a bad real estate choice?
I think the answers may lie in this quote from the company’s spokesperson in reply to Dr. Hawass, "It is something we were completely unaware of, but it is fascinating. We understand they are well within the foundations so an excavation is out of the question, unfortunately."
Will the next stage of the story be that McDonalds relents and excavates the foundations of its building? From a civil engineering point of view this isn't difficult and it would win the company Egyptian points. I can see the BBC2 documentary even now.
Possibly presented by Tony Robinson. Possibly not.
This has been done before, of course. Taco Bell caused public out-cry when it took out an advertisement in the New York Times, on April Fool’s day, saying it had bought the Liberty Bell. Wetherspoons regularly puts out news stories about its allegedly haunted pubs. At one point, you could actually follow the story up and down the UK, tracking it in different pubs and different local newspapers.
So, McMummies with flies; a great PR stunt or just a serendipitous coincidence? You decide.
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