When bad marketing choices can be a bit of a burger

A few weeks ago, my home town of Glossop went crazy with the news that they were filming an advert on one of the local housing estates where I grew up. At the local recreation ground, just a couple of hundred yards from where I set up my first ever market stall, people soon gathered round forming crowds and trying to get a glimpse to see what all the fuss was about. When it turned out that they were filming a McDonald’s advert, people got even more excited. News spread and the whole town couldn’t wait to see the finished product.

A couple of weeks passed and although the excitement of such a big advert being filmed in such a small town was still very apparent, when I was least expecting it, relaxing on the couch with Mrs C, the kids jumped up screaming as they saw their local rec on the tele!

We all ‘shussed’ one another as we tried to listen to the advert, then we quickly rewound the advert and watched it again in complete silence. As it ended, what followed was also complete silence – it was awful.

The whole advert was really sad and seemed to focus on a poor young lad who had lost his dad early on in life. He knew nothing about him and asked his Mum questions. It turned out that the boy’s dad was a bit of a legend and he, unfortunately, wasn’t good at anything that his dad was. He looks heartbroken and then his mum ‘makes everything okay’ by taking him to McDonald’s and comforted him by informing him that he did have one connection with his old fella after all…they both loved a ‘Filet-O-fish’.

Now this upset me, really upset me. I for one, am very lucky to still have both of my parents and cannot even start to imagine how it would feel to lose one of them. It’s a sensitive subject enough and then we have one of our best loved brands trying to sell a few burgers off the back of it? Really McDonald’s? I not only found it strange, but in very bad taste. I mean, who on earth thought of this and why would someone else agree it was a good idea to advertise the brand in this way? (It has since been pulled).

When I was a kid growing up, McDonald’s adverts were fun and made you want to visit the restaurant. I can even remember one of my best mates having a birthday party at the one near me in Ashton under Lyne!

I have written about McDonald’s a few times now and those of you that know me, will know that I idolise the founder, Ray Croc. Although I have been a critic of some of the more recent decisions the company has made that, in my eyes, has made it lose sight of its identity as a family restaurant, I am still a massive fan of the amazing brand, although those in the company really do need to remember what made it so big in the first place.

I always say that the best form of advertising is good old word of mouth. It’s free and has brilliant conversion to real sales, which of course is what we all want. I also use loads of different free ways to gain sales, including social media, websites and stories in the press, although there is no better way to target a certain audience than using a paid for advertisement with a decent company that you want to be associated with. this way you can get your message straight to the potential customer, although you need to make sure that you measure the results instantly, by asking where they heard about you or your product and then work out your return on investment.

If you look over the page, you will see my advert within MTN that I take out every month. I always measure the results of any marketing and I am pleased to say that this one has brought in 12x its worth in what it cost, by generated sales. A great investment, I am sure you will agree!

So, get yourself out there and if you want to chat about any ideas you have for marketing your business, as always feel free to get in touch.