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I'm Local Farmin' It: McDonald's Goes Down on the Farm in New Campaign

Posted by Dale Buss on December 15, 2011 05:01 PM

Over the past few years, McDonald's has touted everything from value pricing to new product lines to continue to get people through the doors of its restaurants. On January 2nd, the world's biggest fast food chain will join competitors in attempting a new type of pitch in America: talking about where its ingredients come from.

While McDonald's has committed to promoting sustainable farming in Europe, taking a "farm-to-fork" approach in America may seem a stretch. After all, the restaurant chain doesn't deal directly with "local" farmers and ranchers but only with big suppliers such as Cargill, Lamb Weston and Coca-Cola.

But McDonald's U.S. executives have seen rivals such as Wendy's and Chipotle get some traction with down-on-the-farm marketing. And they acknowledge that "there are questions about where our food comes from," as McDonald's U.S. CMO Neil Golden put it this week, according to Ad Age.

Last month, McDonald's dumped an egg supplier following reports of unsanitary conditions and animal cruelty at the company that supplied Cargill.

So in its upcoming U.S. campaign, which McDonald's teased this week via Twitter (where its #MCDChanging hashtag and @McDListenTour account continues its Happy Meal response to critics: a national listening tour), "potato supplier" Frank Martinez peels and bites into a potato, saying, "If you think they're good now, just wait until they're McDonald's fries." Other spots (watch below) in the campaign include lettuce supplier Dirk Giannini and beef supplier Steve Foglesong.

Back in Europe, meanwhile, McDonald's in Germany caused a stir by taking a knock at Burger King in a commercial that its agency, Tribal DDB, shared on YouTube. McDonald's has agreed not to run the spot, which shows a schoolboy trying to protect his McDonald's lunch from playground bullies by hiding it behind a Burger King bag, although it remains online (with more than 30,000 views). Watch it below:

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