McDonald's advertising

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Traded as NYSEMCD
Dow Jones Industrial Average Component
S&P 500 Component
Industry Restaurants
Founded May 15, 1940; 75 years ago (1940-05-15) in San Bernardino, California (as McDonald's)
April 15, 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois (as the McDonald's Corporation)
Founders McDonald's: Richard and Maurice McDonald
McDonald's Corporation: Ray Kroc
Headquarters Oak Brook, Illinois, U.S.
Number of locations
36,000+ worldwide[1]
Area served
Key people
Andrew J. McKenna (Chairman)
Steve Easterbrook (President and CEO)
Products Hamburgers, chicken, french fries, soft drinks, coffee, milkshakes, salads, desserts
  • Decrease US$ 27.4413 billion (2014)[2]
  • Decrease US$ 7.9492 billion (2014)[2]
  • Decrease US$ 4.7578 billion (2014)[2]
Total assets
  • Decrease US$ 34.2814 billion (2014)[2]
Total equity
  • Decrease US$ 12.8534 billion (2014)[2]
Number of employees
420,000 (2014)[3]
Slogan I'm Lovin' It

McDonald's maintains an extensive advertising campaign. In addition to the usual media including television, radio, and newspaper ads, the company makes significant use of billboards and signage, sponsors sporting events ranging from Little League to the FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games, and makes coolers of orange drink with their logo available for local events of all kinds.[4] However, television ads remain the primary form of advertisement.

McDonald's has used 23 different slogans to advertise in the United States, as well as a few other slogans for select countries and regions.[5] At times, it has run into trouble with its campaigns.


There have been many McDonald's advertising campaigns and slogans over the years. The company is one of the most prevalent fast food advertisers, especially in the United States, where it spends the most advertising money of any fast-food restaurant and the fourth-most of any advertiser in the country.[6] McDonald's Canada's corporate website states that the commercial campaigns have always focused on the "overall McDonald's experience", rather than just product.[7] The purpose of the image has always been "portraying warmth and a real slice of everyday life."[8] Its TV ads, showing various people engaging in popular activities, usually reflect the season and time period. Finally, rarely in their advertising history have they used negative or comparison ads pertaining to any of their competitors; the ads have always focused on McDonald's alone, one exception being a 2009 billboard advertising the new McCafe espresso. The billboard read "four bucks is dumb", a shot at competitor Starbucks.[9]


McDonald's began operations in India in 1996. It retained Leo Burnett (India) to provide authentic Indian insights in years of study and planning to meet local conditions with special concern regarding local favorite items, religious-based food taboos and India's strong vegetarian tradition. Its hamburgers are made of lamb or chicken, not beef. It adapted local favorites into items such as McAloo Tikki, a breaded potato pancake on a bun. It divided its kitchens in the vegetarian and nonvegetarian zones making sure that food did not cross the line. Its advertising told Indians that its bright, inviting restaurants did not mean high prices. Its strategy was profits through high volume and low prices. Locally it sponsored sports programs and donations to visible charities.[10]


In 1996, the British adult comic magazine Viz accused McDonald's of plagiarizing the name and format of its longstanding Top Tips feature, in which readers offer sarcastic tips. McDonald's had created an advertising campaign of the same name, which suggested the Top Tips (and then the alternative—save money by going to McDonald's). Some of the similarities were almost word-for-word:

Save a fortune on laundry bills. Give your dirty shirts to Oxfam. They will wash and iron them, and then you can buy them back for 50p.

—Viz Top Tip, published May 1989.

Save a fortune on laundry bills. Give your dirty shirts to a second-hand shop. They will wash and iron them, and then you can buy them back for 50p.

—McDonald's advert, 1996.

The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, which was donated to the charity Comic Relief. However, many Viz readers believed that the comic had given permission for their use, leading to Top Tips submissions such as: "Geordie magazine editors. Continue paying your mortgage and buying expensive train sets ... by simply licensing the Top Tips concept to a multinational burger corporation."

In 2003, a ruling by the UK Advertising Standards Authority determined that the corporation had acted in breach of the codes of practice in describing how its French fries were prepared.[11] A McDonald's print ad stated that "after selecting certain potatoes" "we peel them, slice them, fry them and that's it". It showed a picture of a potato in a McDonald's fries box. In fact the product was sliced, pre-fried, sometimes had dextrose added, was then frozen, shipped, and re-fried and then had salt added.

Current campaign[edit]

i'm lovin' it is a branding campaign by McDonald's Corporation. It was created by Heye & Partner, McDonald's agency based in Unterhaching, Germany, near Munich, and a member of the DDB Worldwide Communications Group, Inc. It was the company's first global advertising campaign and was launched in Munich, Germany on September 2, 2003, under the German title ich liebe es. This is only used in Germany; in Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein, the English slogan is used. The English part of the campaign was launched in Australia on September 21, 2003, the UK on September 17, 2003, and in the USA on September 29, 2003 with the music of Tom Batoy and Franco Tortora (Mona Davis Music) and vocals by Justin Timberlake, in which the slogan appears. The motion logo at the time (featuring the "M" zooming out and shining and the "i'm lovin' it" (in different languages, usually in English) zooming to the "M", leaving a trail) was produced by using Adobe After Effects and Adobe InDesign. Also, by September 3, 2003, McDonald's selected more than 30 people to appear in new packaging for McDonald's products, starting with a photoshoot taking place from September 3, 2003 until November 2003. They unveiled new "i'm lovin' it"–themed packaging on December 8, 2003 and rolled it out worldwide throughout 2004 with the final delivery date being November 20, 2004. In January 2007, after a public casting call which received 15,000 submissions, McDonald's selected 24 people to appear as part of the campaign.[12] Images of those chosen, taken from September to December 2006, who had submitted a story and digital photograph which "captured ... themes of inspiration, passion and fun," appeared on McDonald's paper bags and cups worldwide.

In Spring 2008, McDonald's underwent the first phase of their new image and slogan: 'What we're made of.' This was to promote how McDonald's products are made. Packaging was tweaked a little to feature this new slogan. In November 2008, McDonald's introduced new packaging, eliminating the previous design stated above (except for the Philippines and a few countries, where the previous design is used in tandem with newer packaging and in Fiji, where the previous design is still current) with new, inspirational messages, the "i'm lovin it" slogan (appearing only once on most packages). McDonald's also updated their menu boards with darker, yet warmer colors, more realistic photos of the products featured on plates and the drinks in glasses. From 2009 to 2010, McDonald's introduced new packaging worldwide.

Promotional partners[edit]

Cross promotions[edit]

Celebrity spokespeople[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McDonald's publication. "Corporate FAQ". McDonald's Corporation. Retrieved 2015-03-10. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "McDonald's 2014 Annual Report Form" (PDF). McDonald's. 
  3. ^ McDonald Corporation. "McDONALD’S CORPORATION 10-K SEC Filing for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014". 
  4. ^ Gael Fashingbauer Cooper (September 9, 2011). "McDonald's orange drink". Gen X-Tinct. Retrieved 2 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "McDonald’s slogans used around the world, past and present". Retrieved 2 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Meet America's 25 biggest advertisers. AdAge. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
  7. ^ "404 Page Not Found -". 
  8. ^ "404 Page Not Found -". 
  9. ^ "Pample Moose Garcinia Cambogia". 
  10. ^ William M. O'Barr, "Advertising in India." Advertising & Society Review 9#3 (2008): 1-33.
  11. ^ End of story for one fast food ad
  12. ^ "McDonald's press release". 
  13. ^ "McDonald's renews as FIFA World Cup Sponsor until 2014". Retrieved October 24, 2014
  14. ^ (November 30, 2012). "McDonald's named official sponsor of the NFL". Retrieved 30 December 2012. 
  15. ^ [1] Archived October 20, 2006 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]