Reporter's Notebook

McDonald's evolving its ad campaign

McDonald's is leaving no stone unturned as it seeks to lift its worst sales in more than a decade. And that, apparently, includes the company's 11-year-old ad campaign. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, the venerable burger chain is planning to start a new marketing push in January that includes a different slogan, "Lovin' Beats Hatin'." The new push wouldn't replace its longtime campaign, "I'm Lovin' It." But it's clearly a broader play on the famous slogan.

It's hard to argue with the need for a new ad push. McDonald's same-store sales fell 4.1 percent in September. That was its worst month since 2003, coincidentally the same year that it kicked off the I'm Lovin' It campaign.

Worse, perhaps, is that the company is losing market share to competitors it had spent those 11 years dominating. Its gap to competitors in September was 630 basis points, the company said earlier this month. That's a pretty big gap, and narrowing it will require a multi-pronged approach. 

On the company's conference call earlier this month, CEO Don Thompson provided a laundry list of such efforts, including more localized menu decisions, a simplified menu and the ability of customers to customize their orders. But he also said that marketing "will be a key priority for us." 

"We've implemented a number of significant changes in the process, the structure and the creative direction of the company," he said. Indeed, early this year McDonald's named Deborah Wahl its chief marketing officer. And the chain has already launched a campaign designed to address concerns about the manufacture of its food, called "Our Food, Your Questions." 

 

TAGS: Marketing
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