McDonald’s Sales Up, but Ads Trending Down.

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Sitting around the big screen with a bunch of guys watching football the other night, one remarked how McDonald’s didn’t advertise like it used to.  “Remember how they used to be all over the place?  Their business isn’t good,” said this gentleman.  Marketing student that I am, in a very non-confrontational way (burger politics) I offered that McDonalds’s is actually doing quite well, thanks to the dollar menu and the softening economy.  Something in my memory telling me that quarterly sales have continued up since the introduction of salads and the “I’m lovin’ it” idea.

But this one consumer is not seeing the advertising. And though I know he really is seeing and hearing it, he doesn’t remember.  Something is missing lately from McDonald’s advertising. They still have that wonderful ba-tah-bah-bah-bah mnemonic.  The brand proposition is still somewhat tight (family and fun.)  New products (Southern Chicken sandie) are on target.  But the ads are too diffuse.  What’s the idea?  

Remember SNL’s “more cowbell.”  McDonald’s needs more red and yellow.  They need to better understand the “it” in “I’m lovin’ it.” And they need to find relevance beyond value.  Peace!