McDonald’s is starting the new year with an updated brand vision that it hopes will help reverse a sales slide that has dogged the chain throughout 2014.
The Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald's Corp. revealed Friday a series of ads that reaffirmed the operator’s decade-old “I’m Lovin’ It” campaign with an upbeat message amid one of the toughest periods in its history.
“For the last 10 years, everything we’ve done can be summed up with three words: ‘I’m lovin’ it,’” chief marketing officer Deborah Wahl said in a video message to journalists. “It sits at the heart of our tag line, at the heart of our business.”
“We are reigniting the lovin’ that’s been at the heart of the brand since the very beginning,” she said.
Observers have speculated for some time that McDonald’s could ditch its I’m Lovin’ It campaign, but the new ads instead show an evolved campaign that highlights key products, demonstrates freshness and focuses on families. Ad Age reported in August that Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett won a pitch for ideas to refresh the brand.
McDonald’s released four ads Friday. They include an animated ad set to the song “Love Is Endless” by Mozella, in which traditional adversaries are nice to one another. For instance, The Joker gives flowers to Batman, while a dog and a postman share a drink from McDonald’s. The ad ends with the phrase, “Choose Lovin,” followed by “I’m lovin’ it.”
Another ad features images of the Big Mac without naming it. Instead, a narrator urges “vegetarians, foodies and gastronauts” to “avert your eyes,” noting that, “You can’t get juiciness like this from soy or quinoa,” and, “In its lifetime it won’t be deconstructed or infused.”
An Egg McMuffin ad repeatedly shows eggs being cracked, muffins buttered and Canadian bacon flipped on a grill.
“We’re going to make sure our customers know that every Egg McMuffin starts with a freshly cracked egg,” Wahl said.
The fourth ad shows children playing with and eating Cuties clementines, which McDonald’s is offering as a seasonal fruit option in its Happy Meals.
The campaign comes at a vital period in McDonald’s history. The company’s domestic same-store sales have fallen 2.3 percent this year, in what has been its toughest year in at least a decade.
The weakness has prompted the company to make significant management changes and overhaul its U.S. business. McDonald’s plans to streamline its menu this year and add a new platform for customized burgers and chicken sandwiches called “Create Your Taste.”
In October, the company started a new, “Our Food, Your Questions” campaign that sought to increase the transparency of its food manufacturing by answering customers’ questions. Wahl said McDonald’s has answered more than 20,000 questions so far.
“It’s what I call a brand transformation,” Wahl said. “McDonald’s is moving from a philosophy of billions served to billions heard. We’re listening more and assuming less. Customers are asking questions and getting answers.”
Contact Jonathan Maze at [email protected].
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