McDonald’s Canada goes beyond the “I’m lovin’ it” slogan and fights media castigation
In early 2012, McDonald’s Canada decided to face a serious problem. The brand reputation was deteriorated and perception scores were hitting low rates. Negative messages were coming from all sides: documentaries, social media and blogs. To face this scenario, they hired Tribal DDB Toronto agency to develop the “Our Food, Your Questions” online-oriented campaign – Cannes Lion in promo & activation last year.
McDonald’s mission has always been to give the best food for the lowest price – a value for money statement. It provides affordable menus in thousands of outlets across the world. In the past decade it saw a bigger threat from competitors such as Burger King, local fast-food chains and other segments of the food service as well. The change in competitive landscape led McDonald’s to put efforts towards menu diversification and restaurant renovation in order to improve the in-store experience. Their new positioning focused on great food at an enjoyable (I’m lovin’ it!) ambiance. A strong brand directly influences sales results in the food industry.
In Canada, 2.5 million people visit their restaurants every day. It is the second biggest fast-food chain with 11% market share. Tim Horton’s is the leader in this highly competitive market. Globally, McDonald’s faced seriously problems when a documentary called “Super Size Me” was released, bringing concerns on food quality. Big multinationals often face accusation from the media. Furthermore, customers are more worried about the food they eat. McDonald’s Canada noticed that lower brand trust explained poor sales performance. Two options were left: to lose more market share or to raise awareness towards its quality standards.
Trust: the biggest asset of a brand – a long-term orientation
McDonald’s target segments vary from students, young adults and new families. In the youngest target was becoming more concerned about food quality. Young families want food that is harmless to their children’s health (the Happy Meal is among the top products). The brand should transmit a promise of high quality standards. In 2012, customers were three times less likely to eat at McDonald’s due to a loss in brand trust scores. Many of its competitors scored much higher in quality perception. The negative media did a serious damage. Marketing needed to improve confidence and affinity to then foster loyalty and store visit. A new initiative should balance efforts to diversify the menu and make customers fall in love with McDonald’s again.
An increase in food quality perception scores could pick up retention & acquisition rates. The new re-active marketing campaign started with the idea of using QR codes to drive consumers to FAQs about its food quality. Next, the idea moved to a full digital campaign called Our Food, Your Questions. The program invited any Canadian to ask questions about their food on an interactive site. It...