brand inspiration

On Eve of World Cup and AGM, McDonald's Taps Consumers for Input

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 21, 2014 02:20 PM

Coming off another disappointing quarter of sales, the "McScary" mascot launch and on the eve of its always feisty annual general meeting, McDonald's is turning up the volume on consumer engagement in order to tune in to what fans want from the world's biggest quick serve restaurant brand. 

Building on the user-generated content trend that's been tapped by Coca-Cola for its "Ahh Effect" campaign, as well as Airbnb, Canon and other brands, McDonald's UK is asking the public to weigh in on its newest burger. Mixing and matching 80 different possible ingredients, consumers can design the burger of their dreams on the MyBurger website and then vote on others' submissions. The top 12 will be judged and the winning combos will be sold for a limited time in 1,200 restaurants across the UK.

"Customization and digital engagement are becoming an integral part of how consumers interact with companies and we want to continue to innovate as a brand," Alistair Macrow, SVP and chief marketing officer of McDonald’s UK, told Marketing Magazine.Continue reading...

brand trainwrecks

McDonald's New Mascot is All Teeth, Eyeballs and Terror

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 20, 2014 12:38 PM

McDonald's just wants things to go back to being happy, but the QSR brand's latest marketing move has done everything but. In an effort to boost sales and promote healthy additions to its Happy Meal product, the company introduced a new mascot, "Happy," an anthropomorphized Happy Meal box that proceeded to scare the bejesus out of everyone on social media. 

As the official Happy Meal brand ambassador, Happy is tasked with encouraging kids to enjoy fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy like McDonald's new Go-Gurt Low-Fat Strawberry Yogurt, but the character's online antics have distracted consumers from the new product launch. The character was first introduced in 2009 in France and has since traveled throughout Latin America and Europe, only to wash up on US shores with little fanfare. 

The reveal follows the makeover of McDonald's other (unsettling) mascot, Ronald McDonald, who was outfitted with some new attire last month. Surprisingly, the fast-food chain has chosen to ignore the cries of critics who fault McDonald's with selling less-than-healthy food to kids via cartoon characters.Continue reading...

chew on this

After 40 Years, Burger King Embraces You—Whoever You Are—With New Slogan

Posted by Abe Sauer on May 19, 2014 07:09 PM

YouTube was created in 2005. A year later, Time magazine named "You" it's iconic "Person of the Year." In a way, Burger King was almost two generations ahead of both when, in 1974, it launched its slogan "Have It Your Way." Alas, nobody ever recognizes an innovator in its own time, especially in a population of increasing narcissism. So, Burger King has announced it is scrapping "Have It Your Way" in exchange for "Be Your Way."

Ironically enough, what feels more new-age 1974 than the slogan "Be Your Way?" 

Through the years, the slogan has changed but always maintained its core message about what "you," the consumer wants. Particularly strong was "Your Way Right Away"; less so, "When you have it your way, it just tastes better."

When a brand changes one of its deeply identifying characteristics after decades, it invites harsh criticism. Sometimes that criticism is warranted. (We're looking at you, Gap.) But also, that criticism is often so much get-off-our-lawn bellyaching by critics who miss the convenience of the simple UHF/VHF dials.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Global Day of Fast Food Labor Protests Hits QSR Brands

Posted by Dale Buss on May 15, 2014 07:11 PM

Is the fast-food business model creaking under the weight of new wage protests? “Living-wage” advocates hope so after today's global demonstrations in support of better pay and workers' rights, billed as the biggest fast food strike ever.

On Thursday, labor and union activists and Occupy Wall Street alumni, as well as thousands of fast-food workers who walked off their jobs, came together to protest at least 17 major QSR chains in some 30 countries, calling for wages of $15 an hour as well as a right to form a union, organized by a group calling themselves Fast Food Forward.

The movement, which has its roots in the US where one-day protests have occured in over 150 cities for the last 18 months, stalled sales at fast-food outlets around the world as protesters demonstrated in front of restaurants, on sidewalks and inside malls, some even donning Ronald McDonald costumes.Continue reading...

campaign tactics

Taco Bell CMO's Goal: To Boldly Disrupt (and Egg On Rivals)

Posted by Dale Buss on May 2, 2014 01:01 PM

Taco Bell wasn't done trying to shake things up in the fast-food business with its launch of those cheeky breakfast ads starring real-life citizens named Ronald McDonald.

Now the Yum!-owned brand is redoubling efforts behind its new breakfast menu, planning another Doritos Locos Tacos rollout—and even testing a fast-casual concept meant at unsettlling Chipotle.

After an initial push that finally gave real-life Ronalds a comeback to years of bad jokes—while underscoring Taco Bell's seriousness about taking on the McDonald's breakfast juggernaut—the brand is back with new ads that tweak the Golden Arches in a different way.Continue reading...

chew on this

McDonald's Continues Global Decline as it Pins Hopes On New Menu Items

Posted by Dale Buss on March 11, 2014 12:58 PM

McDonald's just introduced a Bacon Clubhouse Sandwich and is testing new McCafe Petite Pastries for breakfast. But will either product save the chain's dough?

That's not likely after McDonald's posted the fourth consecutive month of declines in US same-store sales, a 1.4-percent drop in the market that the brand blamed on "challenging industry dynamics" as well as the severe winter weather that has slowed much of the American economy.

Neither is McDonald's offsetting its sluggish US performance with strong overseas sales as it once was capable of doing. Globally, sales declined 0.3 percent at locations open at least 13 months in February. In a region encompassing the Middle East, Africa and Asia, sales declined by 2.6 percent; there also was weakness in Japan and Australia. McDonald's said a change in the timing of the Chinese New Year also was a problem.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Chili's Heeds the Chipotle Effect As It Deploys Five Counter-Strategies

Posted by Dale Buss on March 10, 2014 02:16 PM

Chipotle has heavy footsteps. They've been haunting McDonald's and other fast-food outlets. Now it's Chili's that is heeding the effect of the fast-growing "other" Mexican-food brand.

Chili's now is trying to outflank competition from fast-casual chains such as Chipotle and Panera, Guy Constant, CFO of parent Brinker International, indicated to an industry conference this week—and it has been launching five major initiatives to do so.

First, the chain is refreshing its look with a system-wide rebranding of company-owned US locations, to be completed in fiscal 2015, according to Food Business News. Second, Chili's is increasing media spend where the brand had lost its share of voice, particularly national TV.Continue reading...

china

The Week in China: 3.15 Brand Targets, South Korean TV Boon, Real Estate Woes and more

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 7, 2014 01:56 PM

China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's the week's reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.

This week: the marketing power of Korean TV shows in China… is stinky Mercedes the new 3.15 target... trouble in real estate… BMW… Princess Cruises woos Chinese travelers… why Shanghai doesn't bother Lamborghini… the EV war… Walmart and Bossini woes… Women's Day prep… Adidas, Nike and Under Armour… Huawei has a watch, too… KFC hit on milk… and more.Continue reading...

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