Tuesday, January 17, 2006

:: adgruntie :: Plastic Ronald tries to take on BK's King

+ Adage.com reports that McDonald's is using Ronald statues to take on BK's plasticy King.
The Golden Arches' new branding spots show how people interact with the life-size Ronald McDonald statues typically found in the restaurants. Created by Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., the commercials aim to "share how our customers relate to the world's most famous clown and the bond they have with our brand," said a McDonald's spokesman. "They are reminiscent of the McDonald's spots of years ago that tug at your heartstrings."

The spokesman said the effort continues the "I'm Lovin' It" theme and jingle. The series marks the first branding work created by TBWA in the U.S., a duty previously handled by roster shops DDB, Chicago, an Omnicom sibling, and Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett, Chicago. As many as 10 spots will air on "event" media programming including the Olympic Games and the Oscars, according to media industry executives, although the fast-food chain wouldn't confirm media plans or how many spots were created.
Woop-de-doo. Poor McDonald's. They try so hard, I actually sorta feel bad for them.

The article continues on to make the point that McD's has tried for years to make Ronald (created originally for kids)relevant to adults. I think this has been a large problem overall in the McDonald's marketing.

They've got the kid advertising and parent advertising down. But they do not have the advertising down to reach young adults or older folk who aren't being asked by kids to go to McD's. This is where they fall flat on their face. At least in the US advertising they do. I have seen some good stuff for them come out of other countries in Archive and the like, although you also never know with pubs like those if they actually ran or whatever.

But either way, it always seems that when McD's tries to be hip they fail. My guess on this is that the agencies go for it and push the boundries, but are pulled back, told to take out key elements that make the advertising target the right groups. The edginess (excuse the use of this trite term) is sucked out and the ads are flat and lacking. They connect to no one as the original concepts are watered down to appease everyone.

I think McD's would have much better success at reaching young adults, and adults in general by not being afraid to not come across as the "kids place to go". This is what BK has done. Yes, they still have their kids advertising which is less hard core or bizarre, but they aren't afraid to go to the other side and be a bit crazy and fun and "edgy".

The other problem they seem to have is that in many ways "I'm lovin' it" is them talking to themselves. I'm not sure exactly how much consumers really relate to that thought.

I think I've seen one of these new spots. In it an actor in a squirrel costume sits on a bench next to a plastic Ronald while talking about healthy stuff. I do have to say, it did make me stop. Although I totally missed much of what the squirrel was talking about because I was busy trying to figure out what was going on. Guess I need to see it again. Athough from my first impression, I will bet that many will say it's very "BK" or "Crispin" in style. And it wouldn't surprise me if that is intentional.

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