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McDonald’s Canada Misses ‘Golden’ Opportunity

Are McDonald's Directionals Really Needed?

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When Just Missed Us is a Missed Opportunity

Advertising agency Cossette, for their client McDonald’s Canada, believes they are on to something with a new Outdoor Advertising directional design using minimal text and ‘use’ of the brand’s colors and logo. The idea?  ‘Follow the Arches’ by cropping the Golden Arches into a directional path, “unifying a design system adaptable to any market around the world”.  Kudos to the agency for seeing something that was right before all of our eyes for years! 

Click the ⇒ 47 second video explaining.

The design is one which could be given budget on a short-term basis to keep creative fresh and not part of the landscape.  But as a permanent directional?  No.  And actually, is a missed opportunity.  Doesn’t work, for us at any level as stand alone.  Where’s the beef?

The ability to reproduce full color product, (giant cheese and fresh lettuce laden beefy burgers, large, salty, golden fries and the icy quenched Coke) creating visually appealing hunger and desire, is too great a message to ignore. The ‘unifying design’ may have appeal in sign faces so small, nothing else can be read.  Then why bother?  Certainly not on the examples of the posters and bulletins in the photographs shared.  It will be interesting if this new directional design is accepted worldwide.  Store sales will determine.

One more point.
In the examples seen in the photos shown and the video in the link, click here⇒ McDonald’s article, posters are visible in non Highway areas.

We can all agree on the importance of directional messages (with product) on major highways with traffic typically from out-of-town, where the driver is not familiar with the area and needs a directional, directing the driver to the next restaurant.

We suggest that scenario is not the valid for ‘in town’ posters/billboards and its related traffic, where the majority of the drivers are ‘Local’ and when asked can direct us to the nearest four McDonald’s locations depending if one is heading north, south, east or west.  ‘Locals’ don’t need directional information. They know every McDonald’s’ location in the city they live.

‘Locals’ don’t need directional information. They know every McDonald’s’ location in the city they live. 

What ‘Locals’ need is the emotional push a visual of the product can provide. Some clients may never be talked out of directional (or phone number or web address) on their billboards, but as the stand alone message? That is a missed opportunity.

What do you think?  Do billboards need store location directions?
Is McDonald’s missing a ‘golden’ opportunity using only their arches?

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9 Comments
  1. Andrea Messimer Henley says

    This is one of the best OOH executions I’ve seen in a while- I received over 10,000 views when I shared it. Of course locals need directional reminders. You can’t assume anything when it comes to branding and retargeting- it’s like saying, don’t advertise Coca Cola the locals know it’s in the supermarkets? Ha! Market share is everything and that is why McDonald’s continues to stay on top and in the forefront.
    These bright bold simple messages drive spontaneous purchases- not to mention the people that are moving into the area or passing through do they know where the McDonald’s are? Don’t miss or assume opportunities- remain top of mind and you remain relevant-
    I think it’s brilliant.

  2. Andrea Messimer Henley says

    This is one of the best OOH executions I’ve seen in a while- I received over 10,000 views when I shared it. Of course locals need directional reminders. You can’t assume anything when it comes to branding and retargeting- it’s like saying, don’t advertise Coca Cola the locals know it’s in the supermarkets? Ha! Market share is everything and that is why McDonald’s continues to stay on top and in the forefront.
    These bright bold simple messages drive spontaneous purchases- not to mention the people that are moving into the area or passing through do they know where the McDonald’s are? Don’t miss or assume opportunities- remain top of mind and relevant.

  3. I think Andrea is 1000% correct. It IS brilliant. Marketing can not be focused on what the consumer needs.
    Consumers NEED air, water, sunlight, etc… But we are doing our job and serving our business clients when we meet what the consumer PERCEIVES about our products and services.
    Apple sells computers (in a various array of platforms); but at the end of the day, they’re computers. But we are fascinated by their marketing because it talks about everything BUT the computer! Instead, Apple “feeds” our desire to perceive what is current, trendy and forward-thinking.
    Giant hamburgers might have worked before, but we are dealing with a far-more sophisticated marketplace, who values originality as much as quality.
    My apologies to Bill, but I think this is REALLY good marketing, and if billboards are going to make it as a viable marketing option, we need to be more creative to take advantage of our dominating presence in today’s marketplace.

  4. Bill Board says

    Thank you ‘johnny billboards’. No apologies necessary. Your point is strong and logically stated.
    “…if billboards are going to make it as a viable marketing option, we need to be more creative to take advantage of our dominating presence in today’s marketplace. ” Great concluding comment.
    Thank you John “johnny billboards’ Schelich

  5. Bill Board says

    One of OOH Today’s mission statements is to provide a voice for the men and women who passionately ‘work in the trenches’ of Outdoor Advertising. We welcome different and challenging points of view. Opposing perspectives promote discussion which often inspire new ideas.

  6. Bill Board says

    Andrea, thank you. As always, you make strong arguments for OOH and this point as well. As you know, in our hundreds of discussions over the years, we rarely disagree when it comes to any thing Outdoor Advertising. This may be the first. I don’t see this creative going global. Which does not necessarily mean it doesn’t deserve to, though I don’t believe it does, but because it may be too bold for the McDonald franchisees.

  7. Bill Board says

    Andrea and Johnny, Thanks again for your comments. We are all working to the same end. Here is a quote from author Robert Brault, “…you realize that not all opposing viewpoints come from people who oppose you.”

  8. Andrea Messimer Henley says

    Bill-
    Ha! I knew there would be a first time we disagree. But I respect your opinion 100%. And I’m glad to contribute as always my friend- My Best, Andrea

  9. Andrea Messimer Henley says

    Thank you Johnny! I agree with you as well!
    Cheers Andrea- 🙂