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McDonald’s overhauls global packaging to send a strong, food-driven message about quality

McDonald’s overhauls global packaging to send a strong, food-driven message about quality

OAK BROOK Ill. McDonald’s Corp. rolls out radically different packaging worldwide, it joins other restaurant chains that have incorporated stronger food and nutrition messages in their marketing. —As

Starting this month in the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland, McDonald’s will launch “the biggest new-packaging initiative in the history of our brand,” global chief marketing officer Mary Dillon said. —As

The packaging includes the old “i’m lovin’ it” tag and food photos, but adds item-specific data on calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates and salt. —As

Other chains recently have added a stronger food focus to their marketing campaigns to extol product quality as they try to attract consumers who are more discerning about where they spend their money. —As

Earlier this year, Wendy’s returned to the food-focused advertising campaigns it had abandoned after founder Dave Thomas died. Red Lobster is continuing the “Come See What’s Fresh Today” campaign it launched last year. Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits rebranded itself in August as Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and now emphasizes a “slow cooking meets fast food” message. Even El Pollo Loco, which traditionally has been food-focused in its marketing, intensified that message earlier this year to extol the health benefits of eating its citrus-marinated, flame-grilled chicken rather than fried chicken, even if cooked in trans-fat-free oil. —As

For McDonald’s, the goal is to showcase new menu items and “reintroduce our iconic products” to consumers worldwide, Dillon said. —As

The “i’m lovin’ it” slogan is far less prominent than it has been previously. The new packaging marks a transition “from lifestyles to food quality” and features pictures of the product and of such ingredients as lettuce, onions and tomatoes, as well as the new range of nutrition data. —As

The strategy is to engage consumers more closely by expressing the “strong passion for food” that McDonald’s has, said Pierre Woreczek, chief brand and strategy officer of marketing for McDonald’s Europe. —As

The new packaging was developed by Boxer, a subsidiary of The Marketing Store Worldwide, based in Birmingham, England. Boxer worked on the original “i’m lovin’ it” and Global Casting Call package designs. —As

The packaging is designed to convey a “strong, modern brand identity,” Woreczek said. It contains copy describing the product in what he called “storytelling-driven information” that also puts a “fun twist to food.” —As

Copy on a Chicken McNuggets box, for example, reads: “Chicken McNuggets. An excellent source of happiness.” The Big Mac container boldly proclaims, “There is only one Big Mac,” and tells this story: “What makes your Big Mac so unique? Maybe it’s how the double layer of sear-sizzled 100% pure beef mingles with the sauce and the melty cheese, the snap of the onion and the tart crunch of pickle. Or maybe it’s just that it’s tall.” —As

After the initial rollout this month, the new packaging will be introduced throughout the rest of McDonald’s world markets in 2009 and 2010. McDonald’s has more than 31,000 restaurants in 118 countries. —As

Although the design is “pretty consistent with a framework,” foreign markets will have the flexibility to adapt designs to reflect local culture, Woreczek said. —As

Dillon would not say what the packaging redesign costs, but said it is slightly more than McDonald’s previous repackaging efforts. She added that whether the redesign will drive sales “is yet to be determined.” —As

Though not involved with McDonald’s initiative, package design consultant JoAnn R. Hines of Kennesaw, Ga., observed that packaging “is really integral to influencing the consumer-purchase decision,” and she praised the McDonald’s overhaul. —As

“I like the whimsical, lighthearted approach that kind of gets away from their jingles or slogans,” she said. “It’s more touchy-feely.” —As

The new packaging also creates “that sense of intimacy which consumers are looking for” as they grow tired of “overhyped messages,” Hines said. —As

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