Tag Archives: McDonald’s

McDonald’s Grows Up

10 Aug

Today’s post is about McDonalds’ successful re-branding strategy.

McDonald’s is one of the largest, most successful, and most well-known franchises in the world. Their name and logo (oh, those symbolic golden arches) are as recognizable in the U.S. as in Russia.

The “every day” McDonald’s experience

McDonald’s has a kind of nostalgia. Let’s take a walk down memory lane. You’re a kid in the 90’s. Your family takes you to McDonald’s for lunch one day. You scarf down your Happy Meal and play with the toy. You crawl around the brightly coloured play-place with your friends. It’s just another Tuesday afternoon. But, for you, it’s a special Tuesday afternoon because you got to go to McDonald’s. You’ve shared this moment with your parents. Your friends. Your grandparents. And your neighbours. McDonald’s has a special spot in your childhood.

Does this look familiar?

As you got older, McDonald’s became your go-to spot for a cheap and quick lunch. It wasn’t special anymore. Maybe it even became a part of your regular routine.

Now try to remember a McDonald’s commercial you saw recently. Did you see happy people doing regular, everyday things? Maybe they were enjoying a coffee with friends. Or indulging in a breakfast sandwich alone. Do these sound like things you do?

Yes, they do. And McDonald’s knows that. Their commercials all run on the same philosophy: let’s communicate warmth and a slice of real, everyday life. They even make an effort to stay culturally relevant. Why? Because they need to connect to you. If you see people doing regular things that you do, you’re more likely to connect to them. Oh, and consume McDonald’s next time you’re hungry or in the mood for a coffee. Have you noticed the themes in their commercials? There’s always something season-related. If it’s winter, people are treating themselves to a cup of hot coffee or tea. They’re indulging. They’re cozy. It’s winter. It’s cold. Everyone wants to cozy up to a hot drink. Don’t you?

A recent addition to the McDonald’s menu

So how is McDonald’s rebranding itself? They’re trying to be more health-conscious. They’ve put nutritional information on their website. They introduced leafy salads into their menu. They swear they’re using real beef in their burgers. They’re also trying to be more transparent. McDonald’s is a big company. They’re trying to be honest and close to their consumers.

In this video, a Toronto McDonald’s takes us behind-the-scenes of a Big Mac photoshoot. A lot of work goes into these photoshoots. McDonald’s wants everyone to know that they only use McDonald’s ingredients in prepping the Big Mac for the shoot. What you see is what you get. Except it looks better than what you’re actually eating.

McDonald’s also got a major face lift. The old-fashioned restaurants with cheap beige chairs are long gone. Most of us have grown up with McDonald’s. And now McDonald’s is showing us that they grew up too. Freshly renovated restaurants are sleek and modern. They also have free wi-fi. They’re a great study spot for students. They’re also attracting older crowds with their new environment and classy McCafe menu.

A renovated McDonald’s

Did McDonald’s successfully rebrand itself? Yes and no. Yes, because McDonald’s improved it’s overall image and product line. It’s an extremely successful and multinational franchise. They already have a consumer base. But they’re still making an effort to attract and keep different consumers. They’re also accommodating their aging loyal consumers. Now, nobody can grow out of McDonald’s. Eating at McDonald’s can become a lifetime habit. Introducing salads and McCafe was effective too. You can still eat at McDonald’s if you think you’re too good for their burgers.

While their rebranding efforts were effective, McDonald’s can’t fully shake their bad reputation. At least not now. Documentaries like Supersize Me linked McDonald’s to morbid obesity in the U.S. Other documentaries drew attention to the preservatives used in McDonald’s fries. When foreigners think of the U.S., they think of fat people. And McDonald’s.

One of the most popular pictures on the internet

McDonald’s has come a long way from being a tacky fast-food joint reminiscent of the 90’s. Their menu has expanded and improved. Now, they want you to feel good about eating at McDonald’s. But McDonald’s still has a long way to go. A reputation for driving America’s obesity rates is a hard one to shake.
Do you think McDonald’s can ever be completely rebranded?