McDonald's Restaurants : advertising & marketing assignments

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The McDonald's brand is almost as universal as Coke. The group's 36,000th restaurant opened in 2014, and those golden arches now spread across 119 countries, welcoming some 69m customers every day. Not enough, the company still says. On any day McDonald's still only serves less than 1% of the world population, leaving plenty of room for growth. However profits fell dramatically in 2002 and the group took unprecedented steps to close under-performing outlets, even pulling out of a few markets altogether. That move appeared to have paid off by 2004, and McDonald's reported strong growth for much of the following decade, even in the face of an economic downturn. A key factor was the broadening of the menu with an enhanced range of breakfast items, healthier chicken and salad meals and premium beverages. The company also pushed aggressively into the coffee shop sector, in several key international markets as well as the US. However the reviving US economy brought fresh challenges from 2013 onwards. Domestic sales suddenly stalled, despite a frenetic burst of menu innovation, as customers moved away to less established rivals, while international performance was dented by a variety of different challenges in regional markets. Even after several changes of management, those troubles have yet to be fully resolved. The biggest problem seems to be securing consistent growth in the company's key market, the US.

Selected McDonald's advertising

Which agencies handle advertising for McDonald's? Find out more from Adbrands Account Assignments

Who are the competitors of McDonald's? See Restaurants & Bars for other companies. Also see Global Brands

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Adbrands Company Profiles provide a detailed analysis of the history and current operations of leading advertisers, agencies and brands worldwide, and include a critical summary which identifies key strengths and weaknesses. Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets. Subscribers may access the following website links:

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Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Adbrands Daily Update 22nd Jul 2019: McDonald's global CMO Silvia Lagnado will depart the company later this year "to pursue new challenges and opportunities". She has spent four years in the role, but will not be directly replaced when she leaves in October. Instead, the fast food giant is promoting Colin Mitchell - currently VP global brand - to SVP global marketing, reporting directly to CEO Steve Easterbrook. Bob Rupczynski, VP global digital engagement, was appointed as SVP, marketing technology.

Adbrands Social Media 25th Apr 2019: "Make Your Choice". How about this for a bold piece of social activation from DDB Mudra? The general election is currently underway in India, a massive exercise that takes a full month to complete. In recent years, the undertaking has been further hampered by apathy. In the last election in 2014, almost 815m Indians were eligible to vote, but more than a third - 280m people - didn't bother. Hardcastle Restaurants, McDonald's master franchisee in the south and west of the country, commissioned this daring stunt from DDB Mudra in one of its outlets in the city of Hyderabad to make an important point. If you give up the hard-fought right to vote, why should you also have the right to choose what meal you eat? Customers who didn't have the telltale fingernail tattoo that is given to every individual who has cast his or her vote were deliberately served a different order. An idea perhaps that could be implemented in the US in 2020?

Adbrands Social Media 1st Apr 2019: "A Sweet Moment". Here's a lovely slice of food porn from TBWA Paris for McDonald's. The French really appreciate their food, even the humble Egg McMuffin. You won't be able to resist either after these 60 beautifully photographed seconds of gastronomic heaven. Delicious!

Adbrands Social Media 8th Mar 2019: "Twins". Simple everyday observations often make for the best ads, and arguably no advertiser understands that better than McDonald's, especially here in Europe. That's long been the case in the UK, thanks to longtime agency Leo Burnett London, but the fast feeder's main French agency TBWA Paris is just as good at spotting and repurposing those little human moments that we can all identify with whatever - in this case - our domestic situation might be. Here's the best of a clutch of new ads out this week from TBWA for "McDo".

Adbrands Social Media 5th Dec 2018: "Lost in the Black Forest". Here's a brilliantly silly pastiche from TBWA Paris of Blair Witch and other such demon-in-the-woods movie shockers for - of all clients - McDonalds' McCafé sub-brand. That running "Slurp" gag is topped by a great laugh-out-loud punchline in the closing scene. It might seem like a slightly odd juxtaposition but it's part of McCafe's extremely clever Flash Stories promotion, gradually rolling out across key markets: all cups feature a QSR code that links clients to specially created online content, like movie shorts and a broad range of other editorial content updated weekly. It's a brave new world in client-led online publishing.

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