Are you lovin’ it?: A new look for McDonald’s adverts in 2015
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Hoping that 2015 will be a new year with new you? McDonald’s certainly are. They began the year with the launch of a new television advertisement. The advert marks the beginning of the renowned fast-food chain’s global rebranding strategy, which hopes to shift the focus back from the products and onto the customer.
Creative agency Leo Burnett put together the animated feature for the campaign. The advert sees well-known archenemies from popular culture reconcile over Big Mac’s and fries, reclaiming their longstanding slogan ‘I’m lovin it’, where ‘lovin’ becomes the operative word. But can a new advert, bright new packaging and a new company ethos successfully rebrand Mcdonald’s for the better? We put the question to our panel.
Everyone recognised that the advert signified a ‘new look’ for McDonald’s and moved away from ‘real life/ real people’ ads they had produced in the past. From many, this move was timely and admirable, but others claimed the advert felt disconnected from the brand.
The soft, cheerful and upbeat tone of the advert, complemented by catchy song written especially for it and titled ‘Love is Endless’, was enjoyed by many members of the panel. They felt the cartoons were innocent, likeable and maintained the reputation of McDonald’s as a fun place to eat. By including cartoons from various generations, they thought the advert would appeal to both children and adults and make them laugh as they try to identify the various characters. Moreover, they thought the song would firmly lodge itself in people’s memories.
‘It made me smile’ (Alex, 35, Horwich)
‘I like how it’s in cartoon form because it appeals to children’ (Samantha, 28, Nottingham)
‘It’s really cute. It’s different. It’s retro’ (Jennifer, 33, Manchester)
‘I really appreciate what their doing by shifting their focus to the customer, rather than their products and making it their ethos. It’s really clever’ (Phillip, 26, Wallsend)
There were some respondents, however, who felt that the advert was potentially a bit too sweet. They argued that it only appealed to children, and therefore, ignored a large segment of the McDonald’s target audience – adults.
‘Usually, I see McDonalds as trying to entice people from all ages, but this one was more focused on the kids’ (Benedicta, 25, London)
The panel was also concerned with the connection between the advert and the brand’s legacy. By moving away so drastically from their former marketing campaigns, consumers thought that the advert was not recognisably promoting McDonald’s or their products. Furthermore, a number of the panel claimed the advert was completely ‘forgettable’.
‘It won’t really live long in the memory’ (Rob, 38, Colchester)
‘I don’t think the advert is representative of the McDonald’s we know’ (Louise, 31, Gravesend)
‘I only knew it was an advert for McDonald’s in the last 20 seconds’ (Ben, 27, Lincoln)
Members of the panel remained unconvinced of McDonald’s capacity to undergo a complete rebrand. They were adamant that the food was still unhealthy and their greatest concerns revolved around the the quality of the food and where it was sourced from.
‘It’s not going to change my opinion of McDonald’s. You still get the same food’ (Alexandra, 38, Worthing)
Those who had reservations about the advert had various suggestions for how McDonalds could better aid their new marketing strategy through advertising. For some, this meant returning to their traditional style ads, whilst for others it meant giving more focus on the products.
‘I think the advert is trying to express how McDonald’s is an experience to be shared. I preferred the old adverts that said McDonald’s is a part of your experience’ (Joanne, 30, SouthShields)
‘They need to show a big juicy burger to make me go. I don’t go with someone I love, I go because I’m hungry’ (Lee, 27, London)
Overall, the advert sparked what was anticipated: many are indeed ‘lovin it’, whilst others do seem to still be ‘hatin’ it. Maybe they all need to get together over a burger, just like Batman and the Joker, and resolve it. Or maybe not.