McDonald's: Marketers just have to tell the truth

By Wenlei Ma | 9 August 2013
McDonald's Canada 'Your Questions' campaign.

Be open, honest and transparent with your customers and trust they will understand what the truth is, advocated McDonald's Canada's chief marketer, Joel Yashinsky, who is thinking of exporting some of Australia's Maccas work to his homeland.

As the marketing boss of McDonald's, Yashinsky has had his share of challenges with scepticism around the McDonald's product still, self-admittedly, present. To counter concerns about food quality, Yashinsky and his team embarked on an ambitious campaign which sought to directly address consumer's questions.

The goal? To win over the sceptics and tone down the vitriol from the haters.

Yashinsky's experience with the campaign, which saw food quality perception scores rise by 16 points, highlighted the need for brands, no matter how big or small, to be bold.

“It was a little bold to show what happens behind the scenes but we were comfortable with being transparent. [Customers] need it from a brand like ours and they need it from any brand,” he said.

Yashinsky said one of the drivers behind the campaign was the need for McDonald's to be part of the conversations taking place in the digital world about its product. He said: “The traditional approach wasn't having the impact we needed. We need to take a bold approach and we couldn't be standard in providing the information customers wanted.”

The 'traditional' aspects of the campaign – TV, out-of-home, occurred six months after the initial launch which Yashinsky said was about building the brand action first and then advertising it.

“Own the truth and be transparent, honest, open and vulnerable, [that's] what connected with customers,” he added.

Yashinsky said he was considering implementing McDonald's Australia's 'Track My Maccas' app in Canada.

Yashinsky was a keynote speaker at the ADMA Global Forum yesterday.

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