brands with a cause
Posted by Dale Buss on November 29, 2012 02:18 PM
McDonald's and its critics have gone back-and-forth lately about the proper marketing role for Ronald McDonald in the chain's fast-food business. But there's nothing to argue about in how well the McDonald's mascot continues to perform in another role: as the icon of the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
And as the holidays typically bring a focus to charitable causes for a number of reasons, McDonald's is in the midst of a new campaign — "Give the Gift of Togetherness" — to raise $1 million for the Ronald McDonald House operation by the end of the year.
It is relying on innovative multimedia tactics such as an animated video (by DDB Chicago) that tells the heart-wrenching story of how the organization has helped one mother and her young child, Summer, in the jumbled aftermath of a terrible auto accident.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 13, 2012 04:22 PM
Fast-food giants share a not-so-secret recipe: make the up sell, adding fries to your bill or talking you into some kind of combination meal.
But the up sell isn’t working quite the way it used to. Consumers aren’t asking for "the #5 with fries" anywhere near as much as they used to, Fortune reports. A study by NPD Group finds that sales of combo meals at fast-food restaurants have gone down 12% in the last five years.
That means a billion fewer combo meals were ordered in the five-year period ending this past January than were ordered up in the five years before that. The lousy economy has something to do with it, but the study also showed that consumers would like to have more options in their combos.
The grand-daddy of the combo meal is the Happy Meal, which has been holding on for dear life. Revamped in time for the London Summer Olympics healthier menu marketing, it's been hit in markets such as Chile, where the government is now prohibiting restaurants (but it might as well say "McDonald's") from including toys with meals.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on July 30, 2012 05:42 PM
We've noted how McDonald's, as one of the TOP sponsors of the London 2012 Olympics, is promoting its new lower-calorie menu and Team USA contest in the US, and encouraging kids (and adults) in the UK to get active and check out its revamped Happy Meal, among other local marketing efforts ahead of the games.
The company brought its top executives to London for the Games opening last week, where the big message was "McDonald's Takes Olympic Stage to Announce Advances in Children's Well-Being, Menu Innovation and Access to Nutrition Information."
Now the Summer Games have started, the fast-food giant is rolling out digital and social content that aims to "match the fun, competitive spirit of the Olympics," according to a spokesperson.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on May 7, 2012 12:53 PM
McDonald's latest limited-time U.S. promotion touts its icy fruit drinks, including "Pucker Up," below. Now the fast-food giant has received something of a wet kiss from an unexpected corner — The New York Times — for turning around its reputation in America.
Sunday's New York Times Magazine paid tribute to McDonald's for engineering a comeback in a feature, titled "How McDonald's Came Back Bigger Than Ever," that gives credit to its U.S. brand strategists and franchisees. And, to some extent, for succeeding on the terms of the activist opponents who've been criticizing the chain over its ingredients, menu and marketing to kids.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 19, 2012 05:37 PM
While fast-food chains are responding to nutritional criticism by enhancing their kids menus, American children appear less and less interested in what they're peddling. NPD Group calculated that visits to fast-food restaurants in which kids meals were purchased have declined every year since 2007 and fell by 5 percent last year from 2010.
It's not that parents don't want healthier fare to their children when they eat out. In the U.S., analysts are suggesting that the notion of kids' meals is becoming increasingly outdated as family eating patterns change. And for that reason, they say, even sales of McDonald's iconic Happy Meal might be only flat these days at best — and at a chain whose other product lines are growing robustly, that's not good performance.
One factor, for example, is tight budgets that continue to afflict many American households — especially fast-food consumers — at a time of high unemployment and continued economic uncertainty. Mothers have "probably switched to the value menu because it was cheaper than the kids meal" at many chains, Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant-industry analyst, told the Chicago Tribune.
It also appears that kids are becoming disenchanted with the licensed toys packaged in the meals, at a younger and younger age, dropping from age 12 to eight. Blame digital entertainment, cell phones, and other rivals for kids' attention. But all of that apparently doesn't hold true in the UK, where McDonald's is using the revamped Happy Meal as a marketing hook to win over parents (via their kids) around its London 2012 Olympics sponsorship.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on March 26, 2012 06:31 PM
McDonald's announced a cross-country "listening tour" last August, a local market effort to get feedback in local markets about its nutritional messaging.
Above, watch a recent session led by Dr. Cynthia Goody, McDonald's USA director of nutrition, who spoke with a group of parents, educators, PTA members and local community organization members in the greater Washington, D.C. area about the company's commitment to improved nutrition choices and children's well-being. And yes, Ronald was there.
The video was released as new research indicates that McDonald's customers were the "unhappiest" with their health last month out of the eight top U.S. fast food chains.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 6, 2012 06:16 PM
If you didn't know that McDonald's has overhauled its iconic Happy Meal in the interests of better nutrition for kids, you soon will.
The chain begins USA-wide exposure on Wednesday of new TV commercials touting the more healthful Happy Meal, introducing a new cast of back-to-the-farm friendly characters (a boy and his goat) that are putting Hamburglar and Mayor McCheese out to pasture, apparently for good.
In response to pressure from First Lady Michelle Obama on down, McDonald's has evolved the Happy Meal into a more healthful repast that includes more better-for-you elements. Last summer, the company announced the changes that it is rolling out nationally in the Happy Meal this spring, including the provision of apple slices and a kid-size portion of fries as standard features.
So now, of course, it is time to market these changes as only McDonald's can — and not just in the US.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on February 28, 2012 02:25 PM
As McDonald's promotes its produce suppliers and expands the availability of its lower-calorie Happy Meal kids' combo meals across America, lopping off 20% of the calories if kids eat the packaged apple slices instead of French fries, the fast-food giant is rolling out its first national TV commercial (there's also a Spanish-language version) to promote the healthier option.
As noted here last year, "The new Happy Meal includes both apple slices and a new, smaller serving of French fries, and the beverage choice will include a new fat-free chocolate milk as well as 1% low-fat white milk. The company noted in its announcement that it has offered apple slices as an option in Happy Meals since 2004 — and that 88% of customers know about the option, but only 11% choose the slices."