McDonalds has introduced its latest transparency campaign, “Your questions. Our Answers.” The campaign runs the likes of Dominoes’ reboot campaign, acknowledging that there are image issues with McDonalds’ food. It appears as though this campaign is the brand’s attempt at debunking the myths that there is horsemeat and pink slime in its burgers, with the hopes of turning popular opinion of the food to the positive.
The burger brand has seen slumping profits in recent years, reporting a 4.1% drop in sales for September 2014 – the lowest sales month for McDonalds since February 2003. The campaign was designed to recapture the attention of fast-food eating consumers, and draw them away from popular – and health-oriented – chains like Chipotle Mexican Grill.
The campaign is based around the idea that McDonalds wants to be transparent and not hide what they put in their food. They encourage people to post questions on their social media pages and the brand will answer them. They even put signs up in metropolitan areas that clearly state: “What are your questions about our food?” People can then walk up, press a button, and ask questions about McDonalds food. The one-minute ad for the campaign features real people approaching the signs and asking questions about McDonald’s food, like: “Does McDonalds even sell real food?” Visitors are then encouraged to find the answers on a variety of social media networks.
The campaign was build based on of the success of a similar transparency campaign ran in Canada. For the U.S. variety of the transparency campaign, McDonalds brought in their very own Mythbuster, the former co-host of Discovery’s Mythbusters, Grant Imahara. Because who better to prove that your meat is in fact food, than a semi-celebrity who used to blow things up on the Discovery channel? Grant plays the role of an unbiased (and paid) third-party host that is completely trustworthy.
So far, the campaign has posted three videos to YouTube featuring Grant visiting a McDonalds supplier plant. The videos are addressing the following questions that were posed by real people: 1. Is McDonald’s beef real? 2. Why are the patties frozen? And 3. Why are the burgers so cheap? Watch the videos below to get the “straight” answer from Grant. Surprisingly enough, McDonalds is letting the comments section in YouTube run wild (which is uncommon for branded content). Although, the tactic of letting the crazies run wild on the comments section is that they discredit themselves, so that leaves little work for the brand itself.
The transparency campaign is likely a jumping-off point for McDonald’s branding efforts to come in 2015. The new campaign, to be revealed during a (very expensive) Super Bowl ad spot will feature the new slogan, “Lovin’ Beats Hatin.” This new slogan is not intended to replace their current “I’m Lovin’ It” slogan (which the brand adopted in 2003). The new slogan is intended to further build their branding message around the world.
With sales the lowest they have been in 10 years, it is imperative that McDonalds works hard to change public perception of the brand. If they are unsuccessful, this could be the beginning of the end for the international fast-food giant.