McDonald’s I’m lovin’ it Marketing Campaign
Marketing environment and primary strategy of McDonald’s
Today, McDonald’s is one of the biggest food chains in the world. It has its outlets in more than 122 countries and it has now become an iconic brand. This case deals with McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it” marketing campaign, which proved to be a major turning point for the burger giant. Over the past several years, McDonald’s has posted consistent growth rates in spite of difficult market conditions. Analysts and experts credited this success of McDonald’s to their “Plan to Win” strategy, which was devised and first introduced by James R. Cantalupo in 2003 after overexpansion made the chain to suffer heavy losses. McDonald’s started a new marketing campaign that was focused on attracting more customers by introducing new variety and emphasizing on healthier options such as salads. This modified menu was promoted through a new worldwide marketing campaign which went by a slogan “I’m lovin’ it”.
“I’m Lovin’ it” Marketing Campaign and its target markets
“I’m lovin’ it” was McDonald’s global marketing and advertising campaign that was developed by Heye and Peter, an advertising agency that was based near Munich, Germany. It was imperative for the burger giant to exploit its brand by pushing it in different directions. The brand had to be positioned differently in different countries and at different time of the day by targeting various customer segments. McDonald’s had devised a multi format marketing strategy whose target was customer segments in different locations, countries and different time preferences. It could be inferred from this that the fast food chain was targeting youngsters, teenagers, children and adults that were present in all of its 122 countries.
The Marketing Strategy of “I’m lovin’ it” campaign
Through this marketing campaign, McDonald’s wanted to ensure that it did not leave or ignore any of its target customers in its efforts to reach out to them. The campaign took different forms so that it could target each of the desired segments. ‘”I’m lovin’ it” was first launched in Munich, Germany in 2003 .The campaign was later launched in Australia and in the U.S. by pop star Justin Timberlake. The slogan “I’m lovin’ it” was translated in different languages for countries like China, France, Egypt, Kuwait, Chile, Brazil and others.
McDonald’s selected people from different countries to appear in their new product package. According to Larry Light, the chief marketing officer of McDonald’s in 2004, this integrated marketing approach had dramatically helped the company (brandrepublic.com. 2004. I’m Lovin’ it a hit as McDonald’s aims for new markets). McDonald’s already had a friendly family image (Kotler, Phillip. 2011. Marketing Management. p.256), and with this campaign, the company aimed at targeting those customers who considered McDonald’s to be a part of their extended family. This creative strategy was in tune with its target segments and markets.
This marketing campaign had started in 2003 and it was a part of the firm’s ‘Plan to Win’ Strategy’ that was created when the burger chain had posted a first ever quarterly loss in 2002. Mc Donald’s ‘Plan to Win’ strategy had a strong emphasis on its global business while allowing for local adaptation and modification. It relied on the 5 basic elements of marketing mix that was People, Products, Place, Price and Promotion (Kotler, Phillip. 2011. Marketing Management. p.24). For promotions, the company’s advertising campaign focused on ‘Over all McDonald’s experience’ rather than just the product.
Creating Value for its customers
“I’m lovin’ it” campaign was translated and modified in more than 50 language across the world. Since the slogan conveyed emotions associated with love, family, happiness and warmth, customers all over the world could empathise with it and the campaign established an emotional connect with the target markets. There was a strong connect between the slogan and the customer. Moreover, McDonald’s had always wanted to expand the idea of being only a ‘fast food chain’. They wanted its customers to experience special feelings, beautiful memories, and long lasting experiences by enjoying different varieties in their outlets. “I’m lovin’ it” campaign became a huge success as it is still in use, 11 years since it was first conceptualized. It created a unique image in the minds of its customers. People started associating McDonald’s with something that they could relate to. This was the biggest victory of this marketing campaign.
After more than a year of consistent research, brainstorming and high level discussions, McDonald's global chief marketing officer unveiled a new and updated version of "I'm Lovin' It" campaign in 2010 before an audience of more than 15,000, suppliers, employees and franchisees (adadge.com. 2010. McDonald’s Unveils I’m Lovin It 2.0). The effectiveness of the campaign was tremendous, as the slogan “I’m lovin’ it” became associated with McDonald’s. McDonald’s released its “I’m lovin’ it” advertisements during the major events such as Olympic Games in Athens, which featured celebrities and sports starts such Justin Timberlake, Serena Williams and Basket ball star Yao Ming. This was an additional boost to the marketing campaign.
Analysing the success of the marketing campaign
The “I’m lovin’ it” marketing campaign was a huge success for McDonalds. Apart from an increase in profitability, there was also an increase in the overall brand value of McDonald’s. McDonald’s had conducted a study in its top 10 countries (as per sales), very shortly after it had started this marketing campaign. The result was an increase in overall awareness of its products by almost 90%, which included 89% youngsters and 87% mothers (brandrepublic.com. 2004. I’m lovin’ it a hit as McDonald’s aims for new markets). The popularity of the slogan “I’m lovin’ it” could effectively reach to every language, country and culture.
Looking at a larger picture, it can be concluded that McDonald’s long term marketing strategies would depend on its necessity to compete with rival burger chains such as Burger king, and by ensuring that it retains and delights its loyal customer base by providing value for their money and variety. Today, McDonalds has a huge loyal customer base. This can be inferred from the fact that if you ask anyone about the origin of “I’m lovin’ it”, they would reply with “McDonald’s”!
Kotler, Phillip. Keller Kevin L. Marketing Management 4th Ed. Washington. Pearson, 2011. Print.
“I’m Lovin’ it a Hit”. BrandRepublic.com. n.d. Web 24.March.2014
“McDonald’s unveils I’m Lovin’ it 2.0”. adage.com n.d Web 24.March.2014