Considering my motto is “Blogging A Branded World,” it seems only fitting that I blog about this disturbing image from Stephen Von Worley of Weather Sealed. It’s a heat map (click for full size) of the United States visualized by the distances of nearest Mickey D’s.
Some people may be blown away while others may find the sparse Western area surprising. Having lived in Colorado, it isn’t. Per capita, McDonalds is just as abundant out West as out East, but people are spread out more in the West. When I lived in Pueblo, CO, two hours south of Denver, there was a lot of open space between cities. The closest city north was Colorado Springs (2,000 feet higher in elevation than the much ballyhooed Mile High City), and it took a drive of 35 to 40 minutes through a vast wasteland to get there. Plus, don’t get me started on the emptiest state I’ve come across: Kansas.
McDonalds is the lifeblood and DNA of America, while, at the same time, a remnant of an era from which we’re now transitioning. That’s not to say McDonald’s isn’t as prosperous and ever-present today as it was 10 years ago, but that I do subscribe to the idea of The Long Tail, which asserts the position that we’re fragmenting into specific interests and creating smaller niche markets that, when combined, equal the former dominance of the mainstream. McDonalds is a relic which reminds us that in some industries, however, that movement hasn’t taken place.