McDonald’s Tries Transparency
McDonald's has a new transparency campaign.
Maybe it's just me, but it seems that McDonald's is the topic of a lot of conversations these days. Seriously, I have started A LOT of discussions about the Golden Arches, and no, not just my usual polls on Quarter Pounders vs. Big Macs. These days it's the refreshed, more transparent McDonald's that has me talking.
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that McDonalds is the topic of a lot of conversations these days. Seriously, I have started A LOT of discussions about the Golden Arches, and no, not just my usual polls on Quarter Pounders vs. Big Macs. These days it’s the refreshed, more transparent McDonalds that has me talking - a result of their new "Our Food, Your Questions" campaign launched here in Canada.
The campaign isn’t brand new. Launched by McDonalds Canada last June using a YouTube video to answer a consumer’s question about why their food looks so drastically different in commercials than in the restaurant, the “Our Food, Your Questions” premise opens McDonalds’ kitchen doors, lending the brand a more honest and transparent feel. By prompting consumers to ask their questions on Facebook or Twitter, McDonalds hopes to build trust and credibility in a marketplace where bad press has followed them in the form of viral videos and unappetizing images.
"We know that there are questions out there, and that there are myths out there," McDonald's Canada chief marketing officer Joel Yashinsky said in an interview earlier this month. "We need to have a conversation with our customers, and social media allows us to do that." Basically, I think the new approach is genius. Consumers respond to brands that are honest and straightforward. Consumers also like to feel that they’ve been directly heard. This campaign taps into both of these insights. But I’m actually in love with this campaign for two different reasons:
- It's dead simple. It’s driven entirely by online/social media, and the mass executions reflect just that. All the creative looks cohesive and is instantly recognizable. There are no promotional overlays. No contests. You ask a question online, and they answer it online. Those same answers fuel the print, TV and out-of-home. It’s simple, and it’s believable.
- This concept must have been SO hard to sell in. This is where the agency side of me nerds right out. No matter how bang-on this concept was as an answer to the brief, I can’t imagine walking into a boardroom and saying “Okay guys - headlines about the quality of our meat and the freshness of our ingredients aren’t working anymore. We need to open it up to consumers and answer any of their questions, about any of our products, no matter what.” It’s pretty bold, and it opens the door for a lot of uncomfortable scenarios. Now, I could be wrong. Maybe they ate it up (pun intended). Maybe this was concept 1, and concept 2, 3 and 4 never saw the light of day. But I’m still willing to bet you there were a lot of sweaty palms and nauseated stomachs before that presentation.
Have the new ads made me more inclined to drop in to a Mickey Dee’s for some McNuggets anytime soon? Sure have. And not just because they’ve dispelled those terrifying rumours about the pink slime (though it does help), but rather because they’ve seen what people are saying about them, they’re listening, and (the clincher) I think they get it. It truly seems like they're willing to do something about it.
Oh, and also because it’s Monopoly season.
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