What McDonald’s New Marketing Campaigns Are Really Saying


What McDonald’s New Marketing Campaigns Are Really Saying

The branding from McDonald’s new marketing campaigns has caught my attention, and I have to say, I’m not a fan.

I’m sure, like me, you either tune out or fast forward the ads as you spend your downtime watching your favourite TV, movie or sporting event.

I’ve seen two campaigns for McDonald’s recently. And when I really think about the messaging, I wonder if it has achieved the desired result.

The new marketing campaigns I’m referring to are:

  1. Hotter. Juicer. Tastier. and
  2. We’re Early Morning People.

Hotter. Juicer. Tastier.

At face value, great tagline – 3 words which are easy to remember.

But when I see and hear this ad, this is what happens in my head. Nothing. Which means the food at McDonald’s has recently been Cold. Dry. Bland.

So now, I start questioning:

  • How does that happen to a business built on systems and consistency?
  • Is it still happening at some franchises, despite the marketing campaign?
  • Is the marketing campaign glossing over even bigger problems?
  • What’s gone wrong to prompt the need to do such an aggressive and constant ad campaign with this messaging?
  • Does this mean a McDonald’s franchise is not as valuable as in the past because there’s been ‘brand damage.’

Now maybe I’m just over thinking what a simple tagline is.  But surely if I’m thinking this, then other people are as well, which would mean the advertising campaign is working against McDonald’s instead of helping them.

Why?  Because the three word tagline is raising questions that weren’t there before, resulting in a downward spiral in the ‘customer confidence in the brand’ KPI.

We’re Early Morning People

This ad campaign centres on a family getting up very early to take their young children to sport.  Great idea – love it!

But instead of the ad focusing on how much fun the kids are having, and parents watching their every move; its message is this:

Parents aren’t awake until they have their McCafe coffee and so they can’t concentrate on anything until they have a coffee.  Which means instead of watching their child kick their first goal and being so excited and proud about that amazing achievement, they are ‘watching’ the guy carrying their coffee to them and then become self absorbed in coffee.  And because they missed the goal, they then LIE to their child and say they did see it.


So for both of McDonald’s new marketing campaigns, here’s my next question

For a business whose brand was built on the values of family, systems and consistent customer experience, how have the executives signed off on 2 campaigns which seem to contradict every one of these?

In Elizabeth Gilliam’s article What Makes A Franchise Marriage?, she suggests potential franchisees should look at the Franchisor, their future partner, to see if they can be in a relationship by seeing if they share common values and visions.

So will this perceived change in values have a positive or negative impact on potential franchisees?  Only time will tell, and as I said, maybe I’m over thinking it.

But I believe every business should have at least one person who takes the Devil’s Advocate position when deciding on anything new for your customer base.

Why? Because too often, we can get so caught up in the new idea/concept, that we lose sight of its true purpose and we forget to walk, talk and think like our customer before we say Yes Proceed.

And for those of you who need a gentle reminder about the price you can pay for saying Yes, you might like to check out my Smallville article.

McDonald’s new marketing campaigns have a lesson for us all

Simplicity in marketing messages is critical for business success. The more your message can be easily repeated, then that often translates into word of mouth and referral business, which is great.

However, I caution you to really question the messaging you develop to ensure it actually matched your values and purpose AND doesn’t have customers thinking negatively of your business by default.

So please play the Devil’s Advocate role often and keep walking in your customer’s shoes. Make sure your marketing time and investment don’t turn into something Cold, Dry and Bland.

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