2018 winner, McDonald's, long term excellence - case study

2018 winner, McDonald's, long term

Beaks and feet in McNuggets.
Deformed cows in burgers.
Plastic eggs in the McMuffin.

These are the things that rumours about McDonald's are made of. That the nightmares of McDonald's Brand Managers are made of. They are not the things you would imagine that McDonald's advertising is made of. But this is a story of bravery. Of how we placed our worst fears at the heart of our advertising in
glorious technicolour.

This bravery was driven by the need to tackle what we would now call "fake news". Myths about McDonald's had found a new home on social media. A home that offered fertile ground for unwanted viral effects. Food quality perceptions plummeted. Business performance was at risk.

Our social listening uncovered the root of the problem - a knowledge vacuum.

Successive attempts to set the record straight fell short; consumers felt the brand was glazing over their concerns. So, we set out to not simply tackle specific, damaging myths. But to prompt customers to stop and think any time they were exposed to an intriguing claim about McDonald’s.

Our approach - satire.
We poked fun at the new culture of fake news, and all who are drawn in by it. We featured unpalatable myths in advertising. We poked fun at our customers.

Gonzo or brave? We'd argue it's brave.

And amidst all these myths and rumours…

  • Communications successfully tackled both specific myths and quality perceptions
  • Food quality perceptions increased to their highest ever levels
  • McDonald’s ‘Trust’ scores reached their highest ever levels
  • Econometrics demonstrated a strong contribution to the business’ bottom line - £9.00
  • Customer visit frequency increased
  • The McDonald’s UK business achieved significant sales growth

…we confirmed an old truth. Fortune favours the brave.

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(Please note: parts of this case study may have been redacted for confidentiality purposes.)