Quick-service restaurants spent a total of $4.1 billion on U.S. advertising in 2008, up 3.8% from 2007, according to The Nielsen Co. McDonald’s alone accounted for approximately of $1 billion of that. But even though Big Mac reportedly will spend $100 million on advertising and marketing just for its McCafe coffee program, having a staggering amount of money to spend on its brand is only one of the reasons McDonald’s remains the world’s largest single restaurant brand.
Equally important is that McDonald’s spends all that money wisely. It invests in some of the best creative in the world and buys media more imaginatively than anyone else. Two examples of its marketing skill are below. Neither is a TV commercial; neither involves a burger. One is a German poster for McDonald’s salads created by agency Heye Group, Munich. It instantly turns a bus stop into a refrigerator case; it must turn heads all night.
The video below shows how McDonald’s is taking advantage of the thousands of people who have their photo taken or star in a video each day in London’s Piccadilly Circus. The chain created an electronic billboard that provides a series of funny backdrops and props for those videos and photos. Even if the Golden Arches don’t appear in all those tourist memories, these people know it was McDonald’s that helped them have fun that day. Smart.