UPDATE January 31, 2015 | McDonald’s is promoting their new marketing campaign by offering customers the option to pay with “Lovin.” From February 2 to the Valentines day, selected winners of the promotion can pay for their food through various displays of love. According to the commercial below this might be a call or text to a loved one, or a family hug. Definitely an interesting approach. What do you think? Is this going to help pull McDonalds from their downward spiral? Comment below and let us know your thoughts.
McDonalds has been experiencing a loss in profits in the United States and are rolling out an updated ad campaign in an attempt to reverse this trend. According to a recent article by Candice Choi, McDonalds will be emphasizing “the Love” in their well known jingle – Ba-da-bop-bop-baaahhh, I’m Lovin’ It – with the hopes of aligning their brand with positive emotions. We also see from the article, that Micky D’s is also simplifying their menu, repackaging their food, and introducing new uniforms for their employees.
McDonald’s has a long history of successful advertising and hopes to rebound with their new efforts, however, I am not convinced that this strategy will be effective. McDonalds isn’t suffering from a recognition stand-point, nor are they necessarily viewed as a cold corporate entity. Their issues, it seems, are perceived food quality and economic conditions. We have all heard stories about pink slime and burgers that don’t rot…and the reality is, whether true or not, they have become ingrained in the public’s perception of the fast-food giant. Add to this the economic issues the United States has experienced, and McDonalds is in a bit of a perfect storm for declining sales. People are spending less money eating out, and when they do, they are choosing to eat at places that, at the very least, make an attempt to use better ingredients and are focused on providing a healthy eating experience. Obviously McDonalds is aware of these issues, and are taking steps to remedy the situation with food-process transparency being one of the most important. Below, we see a video released by McDonalds for the Canadian market featuring former Mythbuster Grant Imahara that claims to show how the beef in McDonalds products are produced.
Again, I’m not so sure that this will be successful in changing the minds of consumers in the United States. It may be to little, to late and the transparency confirms exactly what is in the food and raises questions about many of the other ingredients used in their food. Many will take a look and question included ingredients like hydrogenated soybean oil (and other hydrogenated oils), high fructose corn syrup, and other food additives. Additionally, there is likely to be concern over the amount of sugar and other highly processed items on the menu.
McDonalds has recently attempted to improve their image with an event in NYC where chefs used McDonalds food to create gourmet dishes, and the introduction of a new eating experience with “The Corner.” This is an attempt to jump on the current trend of dining out that is focused on higher-end ingredients and upscale settings. Food chains like Chipotle have achieved greater market share by promoting the idea that their food is higher quality and sustainably sourced, both of which are of increasing concern to many consumers. If McDonalds can make a shift in this regard and effectively use the shift to re-brand themselves, they might be able to repair their image.
What do you think about McDonalds new marketing strategy? Are you likely to start feeling the love for the Golden Arches in the future if they are able to somehow reclaim their image and put out a product that can safely be called food?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.