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Tag: McDonald's

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Starbucks @ Work

Friday, January 14, 2011

Starbucks earned the “Best Gift to American Workers” award this holiday season. And we’re not talking caffeine or gift cards. While corporate America grinched out, laying off staff, refusing to tackle the ballooning unemployment rate and hoarding cash like Ebenezer Scrooge, Starbucks was there: a 21st century Statue of Liberty, opening its arms to the tired, huddled and suddenly office-less masses and their laptops. Day after day it was hard to find a seat in many Starbucks cafes, co-opted as they were by new, uncertain entrepreneurs trying to get a gig off the ground or scanning the Help Wanted listings.

Mommy Bloggers May Grimace, But I'm Lovin' It

J. Kristin Ament
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Something shocking has happened at McDonald’s, the likes of which we haven't seen since the embezzlement scandal that sent Mayor McCheese to white collar prison in the mid-80s. For the first time in its almost 30 year existence, the Happy Meal's freebie is a piece of media rather than a cheap, plastic doodad. Clouds part, angels sing. And sing they will, to the jaunty tunes of Kidz Bop.

It’s Food that Won’t Kill Me…and Ah Helped!

J. Kristin Ament
Sunday, May 20, 2007

This just in: American kids are becoming obese at an alarming rate. Oh wait. We already knew that. But oooh, now we have a whole new set of player pieces to move along the Blame Game board.

At Issue } essential reading

10 Brands That Changed the World

Robert Klara
Nov 18, 2013

From fast food to fast fashion, a glass telephone to plastic money, some brands don't merely influence our spending habits—they determine who we are. All are household names, not just on our shores but all over the globe.

American Kids See More Than 250 McDonald's Ads Per Year

Zoe Fox
Nov 15, 2013

McDonald's is inescapable for American children; elementary school age kids in the U.S. see an average of 254 ads from the fast food giant each year and pre-school age kids see 208. Unlike other major fast food brands, McDonald's is the only chain to reach kids hundreds of times each year.

McDonald's Enters the Age of Transparency

Larry Popelka
Sep 21, 2012

McDonald’s announced last week that it will start posting calories for all its food on its in-store menu boards. Starting this week, when customers walk into a McDonald’s (MCD) restaurant they will see in bright lights that a Big Mac and large fries weighs in at 1,050 calories.

Taco Bell’s Sophisticated Side

Matthew Yglesias
Aug 13, 2012

In the circles that count, it’s clear that Chipotle is regarded as a major innovator, attracting what all major innovators attract: copycatting. So it’s no coincidence that after a couple of years of crazy growth from Chipotle, Taco Bell feels it has to step up its game. Thus, this summer the country’s leading quasi-Mexican fast-food chain has rolled out its new Cantina Bell line of upscale menu items.

How To Identify Your Customers, Make Them Love You, And Keep Them Hooked

Martin Lindstrom
May 23, 2012

Every company is struggling to nail down their core target group. If only they could define it, life--or at least business--would be a whole lot easier. They could then channel resources and focus energy in the right direction.

McDonalds Creates Online Portal To Get Real-Time Customer Feedback

Emma Hutchings
May 21, 2012

McDonald’s UK has launched a new social media-integrated content portal that offers a different approach to sharing and listening to its consumers called 'What Makes McDonald's?'

Three Brand Ideas For Burger King. Love, Ideasicle.

Will Burns
Apr 25, 2012

Amidst falling sales, a revolving door of chief executives, countless attempts to be cool with “The King,” and even a fresh rift with pop diva, Mary J. Blige, we’re told in the latest Burger King ad campaign that “Exciting things are happening at Burger King.” Oh really?

Dethroned! How Wendy's Slayed Burger King in the Fast Food Wars

Jordan Weissmann
Mar 21, 2012

Yesterday, it was official: Wendy's has usurped Burger King as America's second largest burger chain. It finished 2011 with more U.S. revenue, despite operating 1,300 fewer stores. The news, though largely expected -- The Wall Street Journal anticipated the "palace coup" back in December -- is a milestone in the history of fast food.

McDonald's Is Changing Its Burger Recipe To Take The 'Pink Slime' Out Of Its Meat

Kim Bhasin
Jan 27, 2012

McDonald's is changing the recipe it uses for its burgers in the US, after a lengthy campaign by TV chef and food activist Jamie Oliver, reports the Daily Mail. The fast food juggernaut used ammonium hydroxide -- an additive typically found in household cleaning products to kill bacteria -- in its US meat. Oliver calls it "pink slime."

Mobile: All Things To All People

Diane Mermigas
Oct 27, 2010

Mobile ad spending is ramping faster than predicted, growing more than six-fold from 2009 to nearly $2.55 billion in 2014. But the changing dynamics driving it will have a more profound impact on marketing and media business models.

Making Over McDonald's

Ben Paynter
Sep 20, 2010

Inside the $2.4 billion plan to change the way you think about the most iconic restaurant on the planet.

Food Companies Pitch Healthy Offerings, Opinions

Ken Bruno
Jul 23, 2010

Everyone knows they should eat fruits and vegetables. Few people hear it from fast-food companies and snack purveyors. That is changing as companies that make foods rich in fat and salt aggressively market healthier options.

LeBron James ESPN Special Leaves Twitter On The Bench

Jul 7, 2010

LeBron James' decision to use a prime-time ESPN special to announce where he'll play for the next few seasons shows TV still matters more than Twitter, but the hourlong show may also hurt the basketball star's humble brand image. It's surprising that TV will get the big moment first, instead of the internet, where his day-old @KingJames Twitter account already has more than 232,000 followers, or even cellphones, where the phone-number harvesting going on at LeBronJames.com suggested he might try something like candidate Barack Obama's attempt to announce his running mate by text message. The special will also be broadcast on ESPN Radio.

CMOs Shouldn't Spin or Parse the Truth

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Jun 22, 2010

I think I've finally got the answer, and I can thank two smart CMOs for coming up with it independently of one another (you know who you are): Your brand is what's going on when you and your customers aren't looking. That means that branding is how, when and why you and your consumers choose to see and talk about it.

McDigital McDonald's Gets Social With Moms

Mark J. Miller
Jun 14, 2010

Brandchannel’s weekly Digital Watch feature takes a deeper look at brands’ digital strategy. Our latest case study, McDonald’s, takes a multi-tiered approach to digital branding that cozies up to moms to reinforce its nutritional, family values.

McDonald's Recall Of 'Shrek' Glasses Raises Disturbing Questions

Jun 11, 2010

How did paint containing the toxic metal cadmium get in about 12 million drinking glasses sold by the fast-food chain? Nobody seems to know or is willing to say publicly. It's bad enough that about 12 million potentially toxic "Shrek" drinking glasses were recalled by McDonald's last week. But what should really get people's alarm bells ringing is the fact that nobody seems to know, or is willing to say publicly, how the carcinogenic metal cadmium got into paint used to depict Shrek, Donkey and other characters.

Why Imitation Beats Innovation

Jun 3, 2010

Fascinating research from Oded Shenkar of Ohio State University, published in the HBR. This shows that it pays to be an imitator, not an innovator. According to this study, 98% of the value of a given innovation goes to the company who imitates it, not the one who launches it.

McDonald's First Gay Ad: Meh to Wha?!

Jun 3, 2010

McDonald's France is targeting gay customers with a new TV commercial that's already burning up the Web and social networks. Responses range from kudos (for recognizing its gay customers) and snarkasm (gee, thanks for serving gay people!) to yawns (not one of their better ads, creatively) and ire (for portraying a closeted teen. Don't ask, don't eat?) Take a look and tell us what you think.

Sustainability Faceoff: McDonald's vs. Starbucks

Ariel Schwartz
May 19, 2010

Comparing Starbucks and McDonald's may not seem to make sense at first, but the two chains actually have a lot in common--namely, they both promise quickie and easy food and beverages on the go, and both companies have recently ramped up sustainability efforts. In the new book The HIP Investor, author R. Paul Herman attempts to compare the two mega-chains. Below, we do the same.

McDonald's to Use Facebook's Upcoming Location Feature

Emily Bryson York
May 7, 2010

Facebook is preparing to launch location-based status updates for its users. But the social network is also planning to offer it to marketers, including McDonald's. As early as this month, the social-networking site will give users the ability to post their location within a status update. McDonald's, through digital agency Tribal DDB, Chicago, is building an app with Facebook would allow users to check in at one of its restaurants and have a featured product appear in the post, such as an Angus Quarter Pounder, say executives close to the deal.

McDonald's Dillon Splits Up Advertising to Make Shops Say 'I'm Lovin' It'

Emily Bryson York
Apr 26, 2010

What's it take to get cut-throat agency competitors to play nice? A $2 billion global budget doesn't hurt. It's at least one reason McDonald's can get its agencies to collaborate on strategy and major messaging before releasing them to develop their own spins. But McDonald's doesn't pit them against each other in winner-take-all shoot-outs; rather, it asks clients for their best work and often goes with multiple agencies contributing to the campaign, as it did with the recent "I'm Lovin' It" update. The company sees that collaboration as crucial to its advertising success.

McDonald's Unveils 'I'm Lovin' It' 2.0

Emily Bryson York
Apr 23, 2010

After more than a year of consumer research and agency brainstorming, McDonald's global chief marketing officer unveiled an updated take on its iconic, 7-year-old "I'm Lovin' It" campaign today before an audience of 15,000 franchisees, marketers and suppliers.

What AT&T Could Learn From McDonald’s

Denise Lee Yohn
Apr 15, 2010

I usually try to keep my critiques to categories I’ve worked in, primarily because I think it’s irresponsible for me to comment on what works and what doesn’t when I have little basis for my assessment other than being a consumer. So I initially demurred when some folks have asked for my POV on AT&T’s new campaign, Rethink Possible. But then I started wondering whether my expertise in other categories might actually shed some light on the issue — that’s when I realized that there are some instructive parallels between AT&T and fast food chains. And while AT&T has adopted some of what drives fast feeders’ success, there are a couple of important lessons it might want to learn.

McDonald's Names First Social-Media Chief

Apr 13, 2010

McDonald's is ramping up its social-media efforts in the U.S., naming its first director-social media, Rick Wion. Mr. Wion, who hails from GolinHarris, Chicago, has handled social-media projects for McDonald's since 2006. He was a founding member of the McDonald's Digital Task Force, which established the company's digital strategy. In an interview, Mr. Wion said his marching orders are three-fold: using social media to build the business, manage customer problems, and beef up outreach to target groups such as mommy bloggers.

BK Wages Breakfast War on McDonald's With New Sandwich

Apr 2, 2010

Burger King is betting big on breakfast with a new national blitz to promote a morning sandwich that's admittedly a lot like McDonald's Egg McMuffin, but cheaper. In a new 30-second commercial from agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky, BK's mascot, the King -- armed with a flashlight and donning a hoodie -- breaks into McDonald's headquarters in the wee hours of the morning to copy the recipe for McD's Sausage McMuffin with Egg sandwich. A voice-over says, "It's not that original but it's super affordable ... egg, sausage and cheese on a toasted English muffin."

Subway Joins Breakfast Battle Of Titans

Mar 31, 2010

The already intense competition for the declining but high-margin breakfast market is about to be pushed up several notches, as the nation's second-largest restaurant chain, Subway, joins the fray. Subway, which has been testing a breakfast menu in some U.S. cities and debuted the options in its approximately 2,000 Canadian units March 1, announced that it will roll out the menu in nearly all of its 23,000 U.S. locations as of April 5.

Green USP? Greenwashing and Design in the Age of Ethical Consumption

Mar 26, 2010

In the contemporary era of heightened green awareness and ‘ethical consumption’, major companies have quickly realised that consumers are looking for greener brands, writes Lynne Ciochetto. Design has played a key role in reinventing company profiles with new environmental messages, and designers should question these claims.

Great Brands of Tomorrow

Martin Bishop
Mar 9, 2010

Credit Suisse's report picks its 27 elite brands of tomorrow based on a deeper analysis of their potential. Most of the picks are brands that are "transforming," making the leap from niche/emerging players into powerful mainstream brands. Brands like Trader Joe's and Hyundai. These are brands that offer investors attractive returns, some risk but not as much as early-stage brands that may never make it over the hump once the initial rush of growth and enthusiasm is over. Only two early stage brands make the list: Facebook and Comac, a Chinese aircraft start-up.

For Marketers, a Different Set of Oscar Winners

Mar 9, 2010

It is rare to see an actress on the Oscar red carpet wearing her gown from the previous year. Why, then, were there so many retreads among the commercials that appeared on Sunday during the ABC coverage of the 82nd annual Academy Awards? The reruns were an aberration given that for many years the Oscars broadcast had been a showcase for new commercials, much like the Super Bowl.

McDonald's Chef: The Most Influential Cook In America?

Feb 22, 2010

On some level, the very idea of a McDonald's chef sounds preposterous. Burgers, fries, the McRib — is this really the work of a chef? The food at McDonald's tastes partly of nostalgia and partly of marketing; the rest is surely salt.

Burger King, Franchisees Start Making Nice

Feb 19, 2010

After months of public acrimony, Burger King appears to be letting franchisees have it their way. The chain will raise the price of its $1 double cheeseburger, and is working to resolve pending litigation related to a proposed advertising increase. Burger King has been embroiled in two lawsuits with franchisees, one relating to whether the company can set prices -- stemming from the cheeseburger promotion -- and another pertaining to the chain's right to divert rebates from soft-drink companies to boost advertising spending.

Burger King To Sell Seattle's Best Coffee

Feb 17, 2010

Fast food chains have been vying – rather successfully – for a piece of Starbucks' high-end coffee market by offering customers an improved quality coffee and even free Wi-Fi. However, the heated war for consumer coffee dollars just became a little hotter: Enter Burger King.

McDonald's Uses Olympics to Tout Smoothies, Food Quality

Feb 12, 2010

McDonald's is tapping Olympic athletes to help lend credibility to a message it has been pushing for the past four years: that it uses only quality ingredients. The company today hosted a media event featuring Olympians Katarina Witt, Shawn Johnson, Picabo Street and Cassie Campbell to preview its smoothies, set to launch this summer, for assembled media in Vancouver. It's part of a push launched in 2006 to infuse its marketing in every country with messages about food quality.

McDonald's Bets LeBron James Won't Be a Tiger

Feb 1, 2010

The multiyear partnership deal McDonald's signed last week with basketball star LeBron James is an early sign that the Tiger Woods debacle hasn't put marketers off celebrity endorsements altogether. But it does indicate that the landscape is subtly changing. McDonald's said Thursday that its new relationship with Mr. James will kick off with his appearance in a Super Bowl XLIV pregame commercial. The ad is a remake of "The Showdown," an iconic 1993 Super Bowl spot in which National Basketball Association legends Larry Bird and Michael Jordan sought to outdo each other with seemingly impossible shots to win a Big Mac.

Leading Brands And Being First In The Mind

Feb 1, 2010

Marketing people spend 95 percent of their time on brand maintenance when the real opportunities lie in brand creation. Look what the iPod has done for Apple Computer. In the first quarter of 2005, Apple sold 5.3 million iPods. This year alone, iPod sales should reach $5 billion. The iPod brand dominates its market segment, accounting for 91 percent of all MP3 players with disk drives. How do you create a brand like the iPod? It’s simple and at the same time difficult.

Two US Groups Bring Hope with Results

Jan 24, 2010

Two of America’s best-known companies posted better-than-expected results on Friday, painting a more optimistic picture of the global appetite for everything from hamburgers to healthcare products and services.

McDonald’s Fourth-Quarter Profit Jumps 23%

Jan 22, 2010

McDonald’s posted strong fourth-quarter results on Friday, aided by currency fluctuations, leading to annual earnings of $4.6bn for 2009, a gain of 6 per cent on its results for 2008. For the quarter, McDonald’s earnings jumped 23 per cent to $1.2bn, up from $985m in the comparable period the year before.

Now at Starbucks: A Rebound

Claire Cain Miller
Jan 21, 2010

Young people wearing hoodies and chunky glasses are sipping microbrew beers and espressos, nibbling on cheese and baguettes made at a local bakery and listening to a guitarist strum and sing. The scene could be at any independent coffeehouse around the country. Instead, it is at a Starbucks-owned shop called 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea. The new store, one of two in Seattle’s trendy Capitol Hill neighborhood, grew out of a series of brainstorming sessions by a group of Starbucks employees after Howard D. Schultz, Starbucks’ chief executive, told them to “break the rules and do things for yourself.”

Starbucks Raises Prices, Stakes In Coffee Wars

Jan 19, 2010

Starbucks is raising its prices. Again. The brand attributes the increase to its effort to continue providing value while also balancing the company's "business responsibilities." In New York, for example, an extra espresso shot is up from $0.55 to $0.70. Additional syrup is 40 cents, a more than 30 percent increase. A grande triple soy vanilla latte is now $6.25 instead of $5.55. Actually, Starbucks is both raising prices on more complex beverages while slightly lowering prices on a few simpler drinks -- but all the headlines are about the price increase. This price hike might end up working on several levels.

McDonald’s Serves Up Competitive Branding At 2010 Winter Olympics

Jan 14, 2010

The 2010 Winter Olympics offers world-class athletes an intense and competitive environment to showcase their talents. Yet no other participant is preparing more intensely for the games than McDonald’s. That’s right, McDonald’s. The fast food juggernaut has devised a marketing strategy that is as specific and yet as varied as the many competitions being offered at the games next February. McDonald’s is embracing the Winter Olympics in every aspect, and will fill everywhere from host city Vancouver to social networking phenomenon Twitter with its messaging.

McDonald's To Lift Fee For Internet Access

Dec 16, 2009

McDonald's Corp. said Monday that it will soon offer free wireless Internet access at most of its U.S. fast-food restaurants as it tries to broaden its appeal still further. "We're not just about hamburgers," said Dave Grooms, chief information officer for McDonald's USA. "We are about convenience and all kinds of value." The company, the world's largest fast-food chain, has offered Internet access for about five years.

McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell Add to Fast Food Value Deals

Dec 10, 2009

Many big names in fast food are rolling out products geared to drag in slow-to-spend consumers. Today, McDonald's makes official plans to nationally roll out a Dollar Breakfast Menu in January. Burger King is trying to dazzle eaters with $1 double cheeseburgers. The moves come at a time when fast-food giants — many of which initially benefited from the financial meltdown — are seeing sales erode. As a category, fast food has faced falling sales for 28 of the past 30 weeks, reports NPD. McDonald's on Tuesday reported its second-consecutive monthly same-store sales dip in the U.S.

Form Follows Assumption?

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Dec 3, 2009

McDonald's is going to change its logo in Germany, casting its iconographic golden arches against a green background to invoke its respect for the environment. I can't decide if the idea is irrelevant or insane. Or both. Central to the decision would be the premise that fast-food customers make eating decisions based on corporate environmental policies. If comparisons between hamburgers or fries net out in a tie, McDonald's must believe that it'll win because it's doing good things for the planet.

McDonald's To Trademark Slang-Brand 'Maccy D's'

Nov 24, 2009

McDonald's has applied to the Intellectual Property Office to register its popular slang name, 'Maccy D's', as a trademark. The term has been used widely in the UK for many years when referring to the fast-food chain, but has not previously been officially adopted by McDonald's itself. Other fast-food restaurant chains have also sought to promote abbreviated versions of their brand names, such as 'KFC' for Kentucky Fried Chicken and 'BK' for Burger King.

Big Marketers are Urged to Stay Focused on Customers, Brands

Melanie Wells
Nov 9, 2009

A group of 1,200 marketing and advertising executives at the 99th annual conference of the Association of National Advertisers in Phoenix are anxious about the economy--but many see opportunity as they look toward 2010. Executives from Walmart ( WMT - news - people ), McDonald's ( MCD - news - people ) and MillerCoors on Friday spoke about how their companies, which sell "value" products, have profited from the recession and changes in their businesses. The takeaway message from these executives: Don't be too distracted by fads and trends--stay focused on customers and the brand basics.

Ethnic Insights Form Foundations of McDonald's Marketing

Nov 9, 2009

The marketing at McDonald's is informed first and foremost by ethnic insights that shape the chain's marketing to African Americans, Asians and Hispanics. Then McDonald's lays those insights over work for the general market. "Ethnic segments are leading lifestyle trends," Neil Golden, chief marketer officer of McDonald's USA, told the ANA assembly. He added that his team decided to "start with the ones who are setting the pace." They're also where a lot of the money is. Mr. Golden said 40% of McDonald's current U.S. business comes from the Hispanic, Asian and African-American markets, and 50% of consumers under the age of 13 are from those segments. "And they're among our most loyal users," Mr. Golden said.

Telling Global Stories with a Local Tongue

Oct 29, 2009

Interesting article on global brands adapting to local culture in Market Leader by Nigel Hollis of Millward Brown. Nice one Nigel. First thing that hit me was that global brands beat local brands in the five categories researched across eight countries. The global brands were more often considered for purchase, and scored better on statements including 'easy to recognize', and having 'distinctive identities'. The two global brands which stood out were Coca-Cola and McDonald's. Interestingly, both of these were seen by a significant share of local consumers as being part of their own national cultures. So much for the image portrayed by doom-mongers in the press of these brands being multinational, American dictators.

Iceland's Salad Days Are Over as McDonald's Bows Out

Oct 27, 2009

Iceland edged further towards the margins of the global economy yesterday when McDonald's announced the closure of its three restaurants in the crisis-hit country and said that it had no plans to return. The move will see Iceland, one of the world's wealthiest nations per capita until the collapse of its banking sector last year, join Albania, Armenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in a small band of European countries without a McDonald's. The loss of the golden arches highlights the extent of Iceland's economic demise since the pre-crisis boom years when its "Viking raider" entrepreneurs turned Reykjavik into an international finance centre and launched a buying spree of high-profile European assets.

Brand Guarding: McDonald's Fights To Preserve Its 'McRights Overseas

Oct 16, 2009

This David vs. Goliath scenario has played out in jurisdictions around the world, as McDonald's seeks to squelch perceived impostors that trade on is famous name. Thanks to globalization and the sprawling reach of the Internet, more consumers in far-flung corners of the world are familiar with the McDonald's brand, and the fast-food giant has an easier time finding out about businesses that use the "Mc" prefix. Companies have the right to pick and choose when they want to enforce their trademarks, but if they turn a blind eye too many times, they face risks. "If you're too discriminatory, you will get the argument that you haven't enforced your trademark, and therefore abandoned it," says Kim Landesman, a litigation partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler. "The Internet makes it much easier for the people you're going against to find out about the people you haven't gone against."

Now Is Not the Time for Caution

Oct 15, 2009

In times of economic hardship, businesses are more tempted than ever to batten down the hatches. After all, management literature agrees: Transformative innovation involves taking a risk with absolutely no guarantee of a payoff. And who would want to get tangled up in that type of strategy just as a company's core business is struggling? Surely only a crazy person. Not so fast. As the saying goes, "When everyone zigs, zag." And, as our two guest columnists argue in this BusinessWeek special report on Growth Through Innovation, a resilient approach to innovation, whatever the economic weather, is critical to building long-lasting businesses.

Are You Lovin' it?

Oct 14, 2009

Have you heard? McDonald's is looking for a new slogan to refresh its present one. According to Adweek, McDonald's has tasked three global roster shops to come up with the next expression of "I'm lovin' it," sources said. The drill began a few months ago and is ongoing, with the shops -- identified by sources as Omnicom Group units DDB and TBWA and Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett -- conducting market research and developing pitch ideas, sources said Presentations are slated for late October.

Pizza Hut Sales Drop as Consumers Heat at Home

Oct 7, 2009

Pizza Hut, one of the largest US pizza restaurant and home delivery chains, has been hit by a sharp slump in orders as competitors tout the lower cost of their frozen, heat-at-home alternatives. Yum Brands, owner of the Pizza Hut brand, said on Tuesday that comparable sales at its more than 6,000 US franchised and company owned locations had dropped 13 per cent during its third quarter, compared with the same period last year.

The Great Trust Offensive

David Kiley and Burt Helm
Sep 18, 2009

Companies as diverse as McDonald's, Ford, and American Express are revamping their marketing to win back that most valuable of corporate assets.

Brands Buy Media To Save Consumers From Advertising

Sep 15, 2009

Dropping a total of $2.2 million dollars, South Korea’s Hyundai Card has bought out all media space in the newly opened subway station just outside their building. Next, they put up ads that are largely blank and state, “The world is flooded with too many ads, for a short while we want to leave it empty for you.” White space is an old trick for making an ad stand out, offering a stark contrast with the surrounding cluttered environment. The decision to paradoxically save consumers from advertising with an ad campaign is not necessarily new either, we’ve reported on anti-branding efforts by the likes of Starbucks and clothing brand Freshjive.

First Augmented Reality App Lands in App Store - Will Apple Let It Stay?

Aug 26, 2009

We recently described a lot of ways augmented reality (AR) is going to appear on a mobile device near you soon. But now it's here: The first "real" iPhone AR app has gone live in the iTunes App Store. It's specifically for Parisians. But it's arrived earlier than expected--weeks before Apple said it would be allowed. And by early, we mean it's arrived in the App Store by stealth, snuck in as an added-feature in an update to an existing app--Metro Paris Subway. It's unofficial because technically Apple's is not opening the doors to full AR until it releases the new 3.1 code for the iPhone, which is widely expected in September. This code will add in a few more hooks to make AR apps work in a fully-integrated way with the iPhone's video functions...but it seems that Metro Paris's developers PresseLite have found a way to get it all working pretty well with the existing iPhone 3.0 code.

Will the Hard-Core Starbucks Customer Pay More? The Chain Plans to Find Out

Aug 21, 2009

As the recession wears on and fewer people are splurging at Starbucks, the coffee chain’s response is to raise prices. On Thursday, Starbucks stores in several cities started charging up to 30 cents more for some specialty beverages, though the company is charging less for some basic drinks.

Hardee's, Carl's Hope to Steer Angus Eaters

Aug 20, 2009

The burger wars are heating up, with the Hardee's and Carl's Jr. chains taking aim at McDonald's Corp. with a taste challenge and an attack on Big Mac. In September, Hardee's and Carl's Jr. restaurants will offer mail-in refunds to customers who claim to like a McDonald's Angus burger better than a Carl's Jr. Six Dollar Angus Burger (which actually costs $3.99) or a $3.49 Hardee's Angus Thickburger.

Who Won the Recession?

Aug 13, 2009

Now that the recession is most likely over, it's time to start looking at which companies, institutions, and individuals thrived during this grim period. In the harsh downturn that began in December 2007, success was redefined—flat became the new up, and muddling through became a triumph. In a recession that hit all rungs of the income ladder and ravaged the wealthiest consumer markets—the United States, Europe, Japan—there were very few safe havens. But some countries, such as Peru, managed to grow right through the global recession. And some companies arranged their business so that they resisted the contraction and benefited from trends affecting their industry. Some even managed to make decisions during the trough that brought in more business.

How to Defeat McDonald’s

Aug 3, 2009

Quick-serves fight in a hypercompetitive environment. Brands duke it out with surprising new products which seem like punches coming out of nowhere and low blows of heavy discounts or free giveaways—not to mention the pot shots lobbed between dueling sassy advertising campaigns.

Starbucks Credits McD's, Cost Savings for Sales Improvement

Jul 22, 2009

Starbucks Coffee Co. appears to be coming out of freefall -- thanks, in part, to marketing by McDonald's. In a third-quarter-earnings call this afternoon, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz credited margin improvements, cost savings and attention brought to the category by its rival's big-budget McCafe launch with helping to improve Starbucks' same-store sales. The chain's same-store sales fell 6% during its fiscal third quarter in the U.S., but that still bests the prior quarter, when same-store sales were down 8%.

At Starbucks, It's Back to the Grind

Jun 18, 2009

Starbucks Corp. is making changes to the way it grinds and brews coffee as it tries to win back customers amid economic weakness and increased competition. Instead of grinding coffee only in the morning, baristas will grind beans each time a new pot is brewed. Timers will buzz to signal when it's time to make a new batch, according to internal Starbucks documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The changes are part of the Seattle-based company's effort to reinvigorate the "Starbucks experience" in the face of competition from less-expensive rivals such as McDonald's Corp. and 7-Eleven Inc. With Starbucks' changes, customers will be able to hear the whir of grinders and smell the aroma of fresh coffee all day.

Fast Feeder Stays Relevant By Providing Comfort, Value

Jun 15, 2009

Mary Dillon, CMO of McDonald's, one of the few companies to thrive during the recession, talks marketing in a downturn, advertising to kids, and niche promotions within the context of one global message. While the chain continues to boost digital as a percentage of spend, she's also focusing on "old media," like outdoor.

All That Advertising Brings Buzz for Coffee Marketers

Jun 12, 2009

The coffee wars generated a flurry of advertising in May. McDonald's launched its first McCafe blitz, Dunkin' Donuts made its first concerted doughnut push in more than a decade and Starbucks began its first pure branding campaign. While it's too soon to say what the impact on sales has been, all three marketers saw a major uptick in buzz, as measured by Brand Index.

Starbucks CMO: McD's Java Push Will Work in Our Favor

Jun 8, 2009

Starbucks chief marketer Terry Davenport has a big job these days. The embattled coffee chain is looking for ways to offer value without discounts that would degrade the brand and market without pandering, all while fighting off the onslaught that is McDonald's McCafe.

Oh, Starbucks, Where Art Thou?

Jun 1, 2009

The brand I get asked most about -- and the one, frankly, I worry most about -- is Starbucks. Is it simply the poster child for two decades of "trading up" that we're now trading off? Is it doomed to die a tortuous public death by a thousand cuts, as McDonald's, Dunkin Donuts and anyone else with the ability to sell coffee for a buck slices and dices its share? And what's with that earnest, honest print ad campaign? Does anybody read that kind of stuff anymore?

Riding Social Media's Trojan Horse

Alexandra Samuel
May 31, 2009

When McDonald's launched its corporate social responsibility blog at the beginning of 2006, its title — Open For Discussion — signaled the company's readiness to engage with the blogosphere. Eight months later, it faced widespread criticism for the limitations of that engagement. McDonald's could have learned something from the tale of the Trojan Horse: beware of g[r]eeks bearing gifts.

Brand Storytelling and Google Analytics

May 29, 2009

A while back I wrote about an excellent paper by Nicholine Hayward on the dusty old subject of Strategic Planning. Nichole has just released a new paper about Brand Storytelling (Motive, Means and Opportunity) that shows how the most exciting and effective stories always benefit the consumer as much as the brand.

New Starbucks Ads Seek to Recruit Online Fans

May 19, 2009

In a new ad campaign, Starbucks wants to tell its message to a new generation of coffee drinkers and then recruit them to retell the story online.

How McDonald's Is Winning More Than the Value Wars

May 13, 2009

It wasn't enough that McDonald's is beating competitors in same-store sales and winning the value-perception wars. Thanks to stepped-up burger marketing, it's now getting higher-margin customers, too.

Twitter FAIL! The 8 Worst Brands on The World's Hottest Microblog

May 8, 2009

The sound of marketers excitedly scrawling the word 'Twitter' on whiteboards and flipcharts up and down the UK is now almost deafening. But, while some have succeeded, others offer a step-by-step guide of what not to do.

McDonald's McCafé Brand Namé Adds New Chapter In Big Brand Naming

May 5, 2009

Today a new chapter in branding and naming comes to life. McDonald's will "drop the mother of all campaigns on you... that will be not so much viral as bubonic." We're talking about a $100 million cross platform campaign to tout their new McCafé coffee brand and send Starbucks into branding history. This McBlitz will be their biggest push since their introduction of breakfast items in the 70s.

J.J. Abrams on the Magic of Mystery

J.J. Abrams
Apr 22, 2009

Mystery, obviously, is everywhere. Is there a God? Mystery. What about life after death? Mystery. Excuse me, what material is the ShamWow made of? Mystery. Stonehenge? Big Foot? Loch Ness? Mystery mystery mystery. McDonald's Special Sauce? I don't care how many bottles of Thousand Island Dressing you show me, it's Special Sauce. Mystery.

As Diners Trade Down, Fast-Casual Segment Gains

Mar 31, 2009

Consumers may be eating more at home, but when they do go out many are opting for so-called fast-casual restaurants -- the kind of place where they walk up to order and pay but the food is brought to their table. The benefit, of course, is to save money, as most are priced between fast-feeders such as Burger King and casual-dining chains such as Applebee's -- and there's no tip necessary.

All Those McCafe Promos Aren't From McDonald's

Mar 25, 2009

With McCafe Mondays, McCafe trucks, McCafe locators and UnsnobbyCoffee, you'd think McDonald's had started advertising its McCafe products.

McDonald's Tests Big Mac in a Tortilla

Mar 23, 2009

McDonald's might have to come up with a new "two all-beef patties" jingle for its newest product. The chain is testing the Snack Wrap Mac, which puts a new spin on the old classic: half a beef patty, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions -- wrapped in a flour tortilla.

Say What You Want

Mar 22, 2009

McDonalds is pretty darned smart. You might have your reasons for not liking them. You might feel they’re antithetical to all you hold pure and dear. It doesn’t make them any less smart. They are master marketers. They are business efficiency professionals. They are experience managers. They are savvy business people.

Behind McD's Weird Filet-O-Fish Ad

Mar 11, 2009

Chris Edwards, evp and group creative director at Arnold, tells a good fish story about scouting locations last year for a garage in which to film a McDonald's Filet-O-Fish commercial. The agency team knew going in that the spot would center around a novelty singing fish mounted on a wall. When they found just such a fish proudly displayed at one of the houses they were considering, they knew they'd found the perfect location.

McDonald's Ends PepsiCo Tryout

Mar 1, 2009

McDonald's Corp. said it has stopped test sales of bottled PepsiCo Inc. soft-drink products in its restaurants. McDonald's said the decision was made at the end of the summer last year. The fast-food chain has tested a wide variety of national and regional beverages in select U.S. restaurants said over the last two years.

Among Oscars’ Reruns, a Few Standout Acts

Feb 24, 2009

Imagine tuning in on Sunday night to watch the Academy Awards and seeing the Oscar for best picture given again to “No Country for Old Men,” “The Departed” or “Million Dollar Baby.” That was almost what it was like to watch the commercials that appeared during the broadcast on ABC. In another sign of how drastically the recession is forcing Madison Avenue to pinch pennies, many of the spots shown were reruns.

PETA Targets McDonald's Over Slaughter of Chickens

Feb 17, 2009

Nine years after calling a truce with McDonald's Corp., People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says it is going on a new offensive against the Oak Brook-based fast-food giant, this time over the most humane way to kill a chicken.

The Secret of McDonald's Recent Success

Feb 5, 2009

Six years ago, McDonald's looked obsolete. The company announced the first quarterly loss in its history, and its stock fell to a woeful $13 from an all-time high of $48. Today, McDonald's stock is trading at nearly $60, same-store sales have grown for the 56th straight month and the company can boast of having achieved double-digit operating-income growth during the onset of last year's financial crisis. The real story behind the resurgence of the chain has to do with empathy, the ability to see how the world looks through the eyes of others.

McDonald’s: Taking the Snobbery Out?

Feb 3, 2009

Score one for McDonald’s... at the expense of Starbucks and all of the other high-brow coffee shops peddling pricey lattes, cappuccino, espresso and all manner of caffeinated concoctions.

McD's Secret Sauce: It Embodies Value

Feb 2, 2009

With no sign the economy will improve anytime soon, fast feeders are rolling out the value offerings thick and fast. But by relentlessly reminding consumers about its 6-year-old dollar menu, McDonald's has managed to own the space.

Who Served Up the Better Coffee Media Strategy in 2008?

Jan 27, 2009

Optimedia's Antony Young compares Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's.

The Top 10 Super Bowl Ads Of All Time

Jan 26, 2009

Nothing makes the economy appear sound like scores of corporations lining up to spend $3 million for a 30-second advertisement that may or may not help their company. Even after a year filled with government bailouts, Bernie Madoff and $4-plus gas, there’s still plenty of money for Super Bowl commercials. But will this year’s advertisements be any good? Too often, today’s Don Drapers fail to look at what has worked in the past.

McDonald's Reports November Sales Up 4.5%

Dec 9, 2008

It's not all bad news out there, particularly if you're selling something for a buck. During a month when many retailers reported dismal results, McDonald's same-store sales in November jumped 4.5% in the U.S. and nearly 8% globally.

A New Look for McDonald's

Dec 4, 2008

McDonald's is rolling out new designs for its food packaging aimed at fortifying the brand and staying ahead of obesity concerns.

McDonald's Marks 25 Years Of McNuggets

Nov 19, 2008

McDonald's is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Chicken McNuggets with the launch of Nuggnuts.com--an online fan community.

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