Analysis of McDonalds Ads
McDonalds is witnessing a decline in sales all over the world. In the wake of the recent awareness among people of the side effects of eating junk foods, many health conscious people have started avoiding fast food items. For the last five years, McDonalds has launched a new marketing and advertisement campaign to reestablish the brand in the minds of the customers and also position itself as a food and restaurant chain that not only sells fast foods but also healthy foods. This paper will analyze two recent advertisement images of McDonalds and suggest possible improvements to bolster the advertisement campaign.
Figure 1: McDonalds Pedestrian Crossing Advertisement in Switzerland (MacFries Pedestrian Crossing 2010)
In recent years, McDonalds has come up with very innovative advertising ideas. French fries are one of the most popular products of McDonalds. However, even French fries were facing a huge competition from other fast food chains and small local independent fast food stalls. In French fries, product differentiation is difficult. Product differentiation can only made through marketing and advertising. In this case, McDonalds changed the public crossing into a MacFries advertisement in Zurich, Switzerland during one of the biggest festivals, the Zurifest (MacFries Pedestrian Crossing 2010). As the target audience for French fries is almost every segment of population, including young and old, by placing advertisement on one of the most crowed crossing, McDonalds was able to grab the attention of many potential and existing customers. The product image was simple and easy to interpret by the audience. However, the placement of the advertisement on the road has one disadvantage as the angle of the advertisement made it difficult for reading. Many pedestrians may walk over the advertisement without even noticing. The overall message of the advertisement is simple. This advertisement tries to create a craving in the minds of the target audience for French fries through this simple but effective imagery. The advertisement is also placed nearby the McDonalds outlet. Therefore, if upon seeing the advertisement, anyone feels like buying French fries, he or she can easily satisfy the craving in no time. Furthermore, the timing of placing the advertisement was a masterstroke, because Zurifest is the largest festival in Switzerland, and the area where the advertisement is placed is often restricted for vehicle entries (MacFries Pedestrian Crossing 2010). Therefore, the road is mainly used by pedestrians who will have a chance to view the advertisement.
The image of French fries on pedestrian crossing may be less attractive than the next image of the freshness box salad, but it does two things very well. Firstly, the ‘M’ logo of McDonalds is put conspicuously on the road and anyone looking at the image cannot miss that. Secondly, the product of French fries is already an established product of McDonalds. Here McDonalds, is only trying to increase the customers’ awareness which the fast food chain is able to achieve in a crowded pedestrian crossing.
McDonalds Freshness Box Salad
Figure: McDonalds Freshness Box Salad Advertisement in Germany (Macleod 2009)
Unlike the previous advertisement image in which McDonalds was trying to create an enhanced product recall in the minds of the customers of an already established product, in this case, McDonalds is trying to promote a product that has never been associated earlier with the brand. McDonalds is viewed as a pure fast food joint that sells products to customers seeking for a quick bite, completely disregarding the health factor. This has garnered McDonalds a lot of criticism about its products. Salad is a healthy food option. By introducing salad box and promoting its freshness, McDonalds is trying to establish itself anew as a brand that pays heed to the choices of customers and alters its menu accordingly. This advertisement of McDonalds’ freshness salad box was first placed in a bus stand in Germany (Macleod 2009). McDonalds chose an European location over the UK and USA for advertisement, because mainland European countries are more health-conscious than the UK and USA. McDonalds intended to target the audience who are health-conscious and the critics who earlier criticized McDonalds being only a junk food chain. The advertisement was strategically placed in the bus stand in front of an existing McDonalds outlet, because McDonalds wanted to target people who were waiting for the bus while going to work or coming back from work. Often this type of people looks for quick food for lunch or dinner and therefore, giving them a healthy food box option definitely helps McDonalds increase its customer base.
The image used by McDonalds in this advertisement is also unique. Generally, freshness is portrayed in advertisement through images of garden or natural sources of fruits and vegetables. However, in this image, McDonalds has used a condensed freshness box that exudes the feeling of refrigeration freshness (Macleod 2009). The haze created on the box resembles the same appearance of a box kept inside a refrigerator for long. Changing the look of a bus stand into that of a salad box kept in refrigerator is definitely a unique advertisement idea and is sure to grab the attention of many customers.
Conclusion and Recommendation
The two advertisement images analyzed in the paper illustrates the capability of McDonalds to come up with eye-catching advertisement strategies. The image of the French fries on a pedestrian crossing is potent enough to attract customers to the nearby McDonalds outlet. The McDonalds freshness box salad, on the other hand, may be more spectacular, but lacks a few marketing features to effectively portray the altered image of the company. First of all, in the image of the freshness salad box, the ‘M’ logo of McDonalds is not easily recognizable with the haze obstructing the clear vision. Furthermore, this advertisement may be noticeable at night time, but may easily evade the eyes of the audience during the day time. Many people may look at the advertisement and appreciate its authenticity without even realizing that the advertisement belongs to McDonalds. This neutralizes the very purpose of launching a new product through which McDonalds wants to change its existing brand image. The most important message McDonalds wants to project through image is probably missing in this case.
Therefore, McDonalds should portray the advertisement in a way that its trademark ‘M’ logo is easily noticeable, even during the day time. Without ruining the current image, McDonalds can achieve this if the ‘M’ logo is placed at the top or bottom corner of the box. There is one problem of putting advertisement on a bus stand. People often reach a bus stand at the last moment before catching a bus and often may not have the time to buy any food. Therefore, even though these people notice the advertisement, it may not convert into the sales of McDonalds’ freshness salad boxes. Also, as print advertisement is known to have short term effect on the customers compared to television, there is a remote chance that the product recall of this advertisement will be long enough for the customers to look for these McDonalds salad boxes elsewhere.
Macleod, Duncan. “McDonalds Freshness Box Salad”. The Inspiration Room. 3 May. 2009. Web. 7 Jul. 2015. <http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/2009/mcdonalds-freshness-box-salad/>
“MacFries Pedestrian Crossing”. Ads of the World (AOTW). 2010. Web. 7 Jul. 2015. <http://adsoftheworld.com/media/ambient/mcdonalds_macfries_pedestrian_crossing?size=original>