Marketing Lessons from McDonald's Burger Advertising

realHave you ever been tempted to buy a fast food item only because it looked so mouthwateringly, sinfully delicious in the commercial that you just had to satiate your craving? Has this purchase ever resulted in disappointment upon learning that the item looked less appetizing than what’s advertised?

The Truth about McDonald’s Burger Advertising

Fast food marketing can be very misleading. And fast food restaurants usually have their doors sealed and shut when it comes to how they make their food. However, the tides unexpectedly turned when McDonald’s decided to reveal the secret to how they photograph their burgers to make them look so huge and immaculate in the ads. The YouTube channel of McDonald’s Canada has this section where you can leave questions about their food. Someone asked how is it that actual burgers look different from their advertised counterparts, and this is the response from the company: [youtube][/youtube] The footage of the photo shoot shows us that the same ingredients are used and there’s no cheating going on. The only cheating here is that we can’t see anything more than a flat picture in photography, so ingredients have to be arranged in one section to be seen. This seems like a positive step towards building customer trust, yes? By allowing people to submit questions and answering them through video responses, Mickey Dees is creating transparency. McDonald’s Canada actually has more of these videos, such as “What is in the sauce that is in the Big Mac?” and “How McDonald’s Canada Makes their World Famous Fries.” On the flip side, if you notice, the comments section of the ”Behind the scenes” video has been disabled, so that kind of makes McDonald’s willingness to answer customer concerns questionable. Or they may just be protecting their online reputation. And can Hope Bagozzi (the lady in the video) guarantee that the burger she bought hasn’t been tampered to look more presentable than what we unwrap at the restaurant?

My Own Comparison

So I can clear things up myself, I bought a Quarter Pounder earlier today to make my own comparison. behind Note: My Quarter Pounder is the one on the right (obviously) and I didn’t modify its appearance in any way. Brought it straight home, and then took the photo. That is its best-looking angle. The condiments were all there, just hidden. There were bits of onion, three slices of dill pickles, ketchup and mustard. Was I disappointed the moment I opened the box? Visually, yes. But I also have this to say: the burger was scrumptious, as tasty as what McDonald’s has been known for.

Earning Our Loyalty

Regardless of whatever doubts and questions about the behind-the-scenes video, the real question is: Why do we keep going back to McDonald’s? We rant about how crappy actual burgers appear; some insult the fast food joint every day. Yet, McDonald’s remains the epitome of fast food; it’s located in 119 countries to date; and it serves 68 million customers around the world daily. Is it because people have no other choice for cheap, appetizing meals? Is it because of our love for palatable fattening food? Or is it because the fast food chain evokes nostalgic emotions since it markets to kids who love the restaurant up to adulthood? Bottom line, there are a lot of reasons to love McDonald’s, reasons that outweigh the false advertising hullabaloo. Marketing has long been a stronghold for the giant food company. Continue below for marketing lessons you can get from McDs’ burger photo shoot revelation.

Marketing Lessons from ‘Behind the Scenes at a McDonald’s Photo Shoot’


1. Keep up with the times

Digital marketing is the future of business advertising. So many consumers are online. They go on Facebook, YouTube and Google to gather information about products, events, services, news, reviews and whatnot. An increasing number of people are even foregoing TV for Internet. Keeping up with what’s hot means adopting digital marketing practices, but of course, it’s just as important to use platforms that work best for your business and bring in the most ROI. YouTube is a perfect medium for McDonald’s to reach consumers because:
  • Everyone loves watching videos online
  • It’s easy for McDonald’s to go viral through YouTube because of reason#1 and because they’re already a world-famous brand
  • YouTube videos are easy to share

2. Build a relationship with customers

mcdonalds Go beyond forming a connection; build a relationship. Social media has changed the way businesses are expected to interact with their online audience. Instead of writing press releases that practically nobody will read, vendors, especially small businesses, will fare better if they have a blog where they discuss things related to the marketplace, and encourage target customers to participate. That’s not all you have to do. Answer questions, resolve customer or client issues, ask your followers’ opinions, and use your social networks for this interaction. The video response style of McDonald’s Canada has brought the food company closer to their customers. Plus, they proved that they’re transparent and don’t have incriminating secrets about their food (or at least that’s the aim of the video response campaign). 3. Don’t Stress Too Much on Your Creativity fastYou may or may not have experienced this, but generating ideas for a powerful ad becomes more difficult if you focus too much on how to do A so B can happen instead of finding inspiration. Too many creatives worry about how many marketers have made it big due to their powerful, spectacular ads. What they don’t realize is that viral isn’t everything and it’s possible to concentrate excessively on creativity. The “Behind the scenes” YouTube video now has more than 7 million views and counting, and all McDonald’s Canada did is be true to themselves and tell an interesting story.

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