McDonald’s, the quick-service restaurant chain, believes its marketing interactions can benefit from providing an “emotional free sample” of pleasure for consumers.

Colin Mitchell, vp/director global brand at McDonald’s, discussed this subject at BRITE 2019, a conference held by The Center on Global Brand Leadership at the Columbia University Business School in New York.

“We developed this model which we call ‘feel-good marketing’. And this is what we mean by an ‘emotional free sample,’” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: McDonald’s marketing now offers an “emotional free sample”.)

Elaborating on this theme, he asserted that its communications can potentially deliver a small injection of joy for consumers everywhere from out-of-home billboards to product packaging.

“Our idea is that every point of interaction around the brand, however mundane … can be a moment of delight – and, in doing that, can kind of become the equivalent for the brand and the product itself.

“So, it’s not saying deep and meaningful things, generally; it’s not asking people to think. It’s asking them to feel something – and feel something that resonates with their experience of the brand.”

The brand’s “I’m Lovin’ It” sonic insignia is a powerful case in point. “It doesn't have a deep thought in it. It's a feeling line; it makes you feel something in your heart,” said Mitchell.

Such an approach has also been applied using artistic bus-shelter ads in France, a drive-thru restaurant on wheels in Brazil, and a staff-recruitment campaign using Snapchat in Australia.

A shift towards emotion, in fact, draws on an idea first encapsulated by Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, who realised that food was only part of the marketing equation for the brand.

“Ray Kroc famously said, ‘We’re not in the hamburger business; we’re in show business.’ Ray loved that sense of razzmatazz, and excitement, and fun, and playfulness around the brand,” Mitchell said. “We’re trying to reinvent [and] reinvigorate our brand in that sense.”

Sourced from WARC