McDonald’s just reported some pretty bad numbers — a drop of 4.1 percent in same-store sales — so, of course, they want to turn things around. Faced with changing tastes and the behemoth known as Chipotle, McD’s is looking to help turn things around with its marketing.
Chipotle touts the conditions under which their food is raised, winning a Cannes PR award this year for its campaign promoting its sustainable methods. On top of that, hello, burrito bowls. People love burrito bowls so much, it’s actually having an impact on many fast-food dining menus.
In response, we’ve already seen a McDonald’s ad in which people on the street ask about pink slime and what’s in the McNuggets. On their YouTube page, McD’s has a video showing where their food comes from and how it’s made.
Next up will be a new tagline in some new ads. The company is adding to its “I’m Lovin’ It” motto with “Lovin’ Beats Hatin’,” which makes no sense.
According to The Wall Street Journal, this tagline is meant to “to spread happiness in the face of Internet hate” and appeal to a broader audience. The problem is this new tagline isn’t specific enough to counter the online hate.
The issue the new ad tackles is that consumers aren’t choosing to go to McDonald’s because they have questions about the food. Appealing to a broader audience is fine, but this new line is so vague, it doesn’t address what ails the business. Loving is better than hating. But what does that have to do with selling burgers and fries and eating habits?
It’s also strange that the company would choose to tackle the haters now when haters have been around for a long time. If you look up McDonald’s on this site, you’ll see plenty of stories about parents groups, health advocates, labor leaders and tons of others who have a problem with McDonald’s. Now it’s an issue big enough to be addressed with this weird tagline? There’s something off about it; it smells inauthentic.
There’s the sense that McDonald’s simply isn’t used to being the underdog from a sales point of view. Even when people would bad mouth the company, customers kept flocking for Big Macs. The company spent a billion dollars in ads last year. So they’re used to drowning out opposition by tossing some marketing dollars at the issue. That’s not working anymore and it looks like they’re flailing.
The new campaign will launch on New Year’s Day with a minute-long spot planned for the Super Bowl in February. The WSJ says the “I’m Lovin’ It” tagline, launched in 2003, will stick around as well.