McDonald's Restaurants : advertising & marketing profile

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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.

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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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Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

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.

Adbrands Social Media 16th Nov 2018: "First Night Out". Let's take a short break from the Christmas festivities with this charming film from TBWA\Neboko in the Netherlands for McDonald's. Any parent will know the trepidation with which you go out out for the first time without your baby, no matter in whose safe hands you leave him or her. McDonald's likes to present itself as your familiar friend at such moments. So while it might not be your first choice for a big night out (and you probably wouldn't leave your baby there unattended), it does provide some comfort in times of need.

Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Oct 2018: McDonald's did well in 3Q, but with reservations. The fast-feeder reported its 13th consecutive quarter of global same-store growth, up 4.2% year-on-year, well ahead of analysts' expectations. The best performance came from international markets, up 5.4% combined, with especially strong results from the UK, Australia and France. In the US, the company delivered 2.4%, fed almost entirely by higher prices rather than volume increases. CEO Steve Easterbrook said the domestic market remains challenging, especially in the breakfast day-part where the chain has lost share to rivals, especially Taco Bell. "It continues to be a battleground. It’s a market-share fight on traffic and our teams are responding. We've got to do better at breakfast."

Adbrands Weekly Update 21st Jun 2018: Cannes Lions 2018. The first batch of winners were announced from Cannes Lions 2018. (See the full run-down, including all the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners at the Cannes Lions 2018 website). There were two Grand Prix winners in Outdoor. Canadian agency Cossette was awarded multiple prizes for its brilliantly simple billboards for McDonald's, which used the curves of the instantly recognisable logo to provide directions for the nearest outlet. Comedy Central's Daily Show with Trevor Noah, from Viacom, was the other winner with a savagely satirical commentary on the current US President's Twitter addiction. Under the title of The Donald J Trump Presidential Twitter Library, the channel mounted a three-day event in which all Trump's Tweets were framed for inspection.

Adbrands Weekly Update 31st May 2018: Ads of the Week: "Ramadan 2018". The world's biggest brands know full well the need to adapt to local sensitivities if they're aiming to stay big. McDonald's and Coca-Cola are among the several global players with new ads out now that acknowledge Ramadan. Here's a charming spot from DDB Singapore for McDonald's, also notable for its illustration of McDelivery, an especially important strand to the fast-feeder's business throughout Asia. Here in the UK, we have yet to see a single such McDelivery messenger; perhaps the ubiquity of McDonald's branches has something to do with that, and also the daunting size of those backpacks...

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