McDonald’s begins new brand image

Stories by Hanim Adnan in Munich, Germany

HOT on its pursuit to revitalise its brand image, McDonald's Corp has embarked on a the new campaign to further strengthen and expand its market share amidst the highly competitive fast food service retailing industry. 

The world famous Golden Arches officially kicked off the “i'm lovin' it” campaign in Munich, Germany on Sept 2 to mark a new marketing approach aimed at invigorating and “energising” the McDonald's brand as well as making it appealing to customers globally. 

By end of this month, other McDonald's restaurants in over 100 countries worldwide including Malaysia are expected to fully embrace the “i'm lovin' it” marketing campaign. 

McDonald's executive vice-president and global chief marketing officer Larry Light said: “It is unprecedented in McDonald's history that a single set of commercials and single brand message would be used concurrently worldwide. 

The key to this global campaign is the five new high-energy television commercials shot in 12 languages and in a variety of locations including the Czech Republic, Brazil, South Africa and Malaysia, depicting how consumers around the world feel about the brand and the way McDonald's fits into their lives. 

(From left): Larry Light, Deutschland vice-president market Johan Jervoe and Jurgen Knauss.

All of McDonald’s restaurants globally would incorporate the “i’m lovin’ it” into their advertising, promotions, public relations, restaurant merchandising and overall brand communications initiatives. 

To add more flavour to the marketing campaign, the Golden Arches had also announced a multi-tiered international partnership with US pop superstar Justin Timberlake who would record his vocals on McDonald's new “i'm lovin' it” commercials as well as appearing in cameo roles throughout the campaign. 

Describing the food service retailing industry as “a competitive race with no finishing line”, Light told Malaysian journalists who were among the 100 newsmen worldwide invited to the global launch that “McDonald's biggest challenge is how to keep this (brand campaign) refreshed so that our 1.5 million employees will stay interested while our consumers will take the new image as continuously evolving one.” 

“When we leverage our resources, talent and infrastructure, the power of the McDonald's system is unparalleled,” he added.  

“We're working to move this brand forward into the 21st Century in a way that our customers worldwide will still find it fresh and appealing.” 

McDonald's is the world's leading food service retailer with more than 30,000 restaurants serving 47 million customers each day in more than 100 countries. 

Asked on the cost of the new campaign, Light said: “We will not spend more than what we have been spending. Our problem is not whether we have enough to spend on marketing. We have plenty!” 

“We are not going to increase our marketing expenses but more so the efficacy and productivity our expenses. 

“In this particular case, we are producing a level of quality advertising that McDonald's has never seen before on a global basis and it is actually costing us less money. 

“We want to keep the basic concept alive - McDonald's forever young - with core promise of fun, youthful spirit, executed with quality services, cleanliness and all delivered at extraordinary values that will never change,” Light said. 

On the other hand, he said the biggest risk would be if “McDonald's do not stay on course”. 

Citing the US and Europe's consumer trend, he said: “Consumers get bored quickly.  

The risk I think is that we have a new direction now but within the next six months we will start to question on the next new direction.” 

Light pointed out that McDonald's does not have a predictable formula as “our hope is to remain continuously creative drawing up fresh and original ideas which we could incorporate into future marketing programmes.” 

In Germany, for example, about 51 McDonald's restaurants would be built or remodelled to conform to the new design concepts before end of this year. 

On the Asian markets, Light said: “Based from our agencies' views our global brand campaign will work in Asia.” 

He pointed out China due to its scale and size would still be McDonald's number one growth area. 

“However, it's McDonald's aspiration to grow everywhere as we are not in a standstill mode of operation,” he added.  

German agency wins McD account

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