Tag Archives: mcdonald’s

a strategy statement come to life

I have been meaning to comment on DDB’s new spot for McDonald’s coffee since I saw it a few weeks ago, but…well, but this work thing is pretty busy and things with the Pretty Account Supervisor have gone better and quicker than I expected and when you put the two together I end up with a lot of things that I want to write about but never actually get to. Luckily, Agency Spy posted on the spot and that is the impetus for finally getting to it.

Agency Spy thinks that the spot is terrible, divisive and lowest common denominator:


I think that the spot is just a far too literal execution of the brief, the strategy statement in :30 of moving images.

I don’t go as far as Superspy in thinking that this truly appeals to the lowest common denominator…I caught a little bit of a wink and a smile in how hammy the actresses were that would like speak what is surely a well-researched target group that thinks that Starbucks really is for hoity-toity Apple-oid hipsters and isn’t a brand for them. It’s not an anti-intellectual spot, but rather one that pokes fun at those who take themselves too seriously.

That said, watching the spot is like reading the brief.

The opportunity – there is a significant group of regular people that find Starbucks coffee and the whole experience around it too elitist and look for something that is more down to earth, more on the go and, simply put, more regular. Just like they are.

The strategy – shine a white hot light on the delineation between the stereotypical condescending faux intellectualoid Starbucks denizen and the no need to pretend to be anyone but yourself McDonald’s coffee drinker who wants good coffee without having to worry about not fitting in or mispronouncing “venti.”

The problem with a spot that shows the brief so obviously is that it is, well, obvious.


the corporate social responsibility bandwagon

Companies that take a stand are all the rage now. It used to be that the limit of corporations’ social ambitions were to make a lot of money, thus keeping people employed, returning profits to stockholders and helping the economy as a whole. For better or worse – and there are arguments on both sides – that has all changed.

That corporate social responsibility is in vogue is not new news…and that fact alone means that it was only a matter of time before the whole idea, or at least of advertising the idea as a point of differentiation for your brand, jumped the shark.

When McDonald’s, via agency DDB Stockholm, is touting the morality of its hiring practices because it sees a business opportunity in positioning itself as a moral company you know that what was once a trend is now firmly mainstream:


Body copy: “Nor Swedes, South Koreans or Norwegians. We hire individuals. We don’t care what your surname is. Because ambition and determination have nothing to do with your nationality. McDonald’s is one of the most integrated companies in Sweden, with as many as ninety-five nationalities working for us. Join us at mcdonalds.se.”

Forget the Economist-esque treatment that Adrants rightly has a little fun with, the point of this ad, which is running as a full page ad in major Swedish newspapers, is not to recruit for McDonald’s stores – they would hardly use such an untargeted means of recruitment were they really struggling to find workers – it is to convince Swedes of McDonald’s social goodness.

It’s tangental to the product offering…it’s trite copy that is kinda familiar…it’s something that McDonald’s thinks will get it new business.

If every company is touting how wonderfully superb they are to the world at large, and The Economist says that most companies are, then is that really something that will make your brand stand out? Or has it become mere cost of business these days?

Either way, Fonzie’s strapping on his skis as we speak.

mcdonald’s & one big burger

I like when fast food restaurants, especially the traditional burger guys, just tell it like it really is and stop tip-toeing around the fact that their burgers are big, greasy, unhealthy and totally indulgent. They are not something that you should have every day, but doesn’t that make the times that you do have them better?

At least until you’re in the bathroom and hour later.

DDB Stockholm took that strategy and ran with it for the new McDonald’s Big N’ Juicy burger launch where they created this fantastic outdoor piece:


It made me laugh, is pretty creative and it definitely makes me think that the Big N’ Juicy is exactly what the name says…even though I am pretty sure that it’s not.

From i believe in advertising.

mcdonald’s and their ill-thought out report card ad

There is a lot of hoopla around the reported McDonald’s ads on report card envelopes at a school district in Florida. At least one parent is, predictably, upset. As reported in Promo magazine, Susan Pagan, the mother of a nine-year-old who received a report card, said was “shocked and outraged” when she saw the ad on the envelope.


Pagan, apparently, “[tries] to feed my kids well, especially with all the media hype about childhood obesity. If someone wants to send me something, fine. But let’s keep direct marketing out of the hands of our kids.”

Even without all of the media hype about childhood obesity, my parents tried to feed me well. And for the most part they did, though I do bear the scars of being forced to eat cooked carrots and my Mom’s lemon chicken.

In the current climate, and knowing the McDonald’s strives to be a “responsible” company, advertising as closely to schools as McDonald’s did is a definite no-no.

Though…the Biz takes the stance that advertising does not compel anyone to do anything. There was much more, in terms of volume and lack of restrictions on content, advertising targeted at kids when I was a little tyke and even when my parents were young. And somehow, we made it out unscathed and un-obese. My parents (and theirs) may have had to put up with more “no, we’re stopping at McDonald’s” and “no, you can’t have that toy” than they wanted…but what parent doesn’t?

In moderation, a McDonald’s Happy Meal is a nice little treat. As is the Taco Bell I am going to go and get for lunch today. Eaten every day, either one will make you a fat ass. But, at this point, if you don’t know that…well, let’s be honest, at this point, EVERYONE knows that you can’t eat fast food every day and be healthy.

But there are lots of things that you can’t do every day and be healthy (and, as a corollary, can do occasionally while still remaining the picture of fitness). Advertising those treats (fast food, ice cream, coffee, etc and so on) should not be disallowed just because some people can’t control themselves.

The advertising isn’t forcing them in over-indulge.

If parents want to make school advertising-fee, it’s their prerogative. And it could be very fairly argued that targeting children, especially with a promised reward without parental consent, crosses the line. Limiting advertising to kids is a perfectly defensible position to hold though it is important to recognize that McDonald’s food isn’t, in and of itself, a bad thing. It is a bad thing only in excess and, as parents, it is important to ensure that kids need do not consume it in excess.

Don’t blame advertising for your lack of willpower to moderate your tastes and impulses.

If all so-called unhealthy foods stop advertising, obesity is not going to go away.