McDonald’s boss blames DDB and Burnett for sales flop

McDonald’s has just posted its first sales drop in nine years and so CEO Don Thompson (left)19_DonaldThompsoncnnmoney is threatening lead agencies DDB and Leo Burnett with all manner of horrors, including new agencies on the account or even losing their share entirely.

McDonald’s, of course, has other problems – like the fact that its restaurants look like something out of the ark.  Sales, as one Adscam reader points out, are up in Canada where the company has spent heavily upgrading its stores. But is the advertising, on which it spends north of $1bn a year, partly to blame?

The long-running ‘I’m Lovin’ It’ campaign tag was created in 2003 by Heye & Partner, a DDB agency in Munich. Such tags are loved by clients of course – look at Tesco with ‘Every Little Helps’ which limps on long after it became wallpaper – possibly because they ensure that the client’s message gets through somewhere whatever the ornery agencies do.

But that’s part of the problem: such tags are there to make the client feel in control rather than appeal to customers. in any case, ‘I’m lovin’ It’ just sounds too American for people in most parts of the world, despite its German roots.

McDonald’s UK advertising by Leo Burnett is classy, understated and gently humorous. It does, though, sometimes seem to inhabit a parallel universe to the McDonald’s reality. You see agreeable characters outside the restaurants but hardly ever having a good time in one. And that’s because you don’t; they’re functional pit-stops. This one gives it a good go, but only in the last few seconds:

So Mr Thompson might do better to export his Canadian upgrading experiment across the company’s vast global franchise. But that would cost a lot more than changing his agencies, of course.


Back to top button