MCDONALD'S UNVEILS GLOBAL AD CAMPAIGN AIMED AT CHILDREN
Marketing Effort Responds to Obesity Controversy
MCDONALD'S ADS TARGET CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS 4
Government Food Marketing Hearing Told of Elementary School Programs
FOOD MARKETERS READY CONGRESSIONAL LOBBYING EFFORT
Plan Aggressive Defense of Children's Food Advertising Business
HOW THE OBESITY DEBATE BECAME FAT WITH DISINFORMATION
Critics Cite Myth Built of Sloppy Science and Cultural Bias
KRAFT TO STOP ADVERTISING SOME FOODS TO CHILDREN
Marketing Strategy Shifted to Emphasize More Nutritious Products
GROUP CALLS FOR JUNK FOOD AD BAN ON CHILDRENS' SHOWS
Proposed Guidelines Target 18-Year-Olds
STUDY LINKS CHILDHOOD OBESITY AND ADVERTISING
Kaiser Foundation Findings Debated at Washington Forum
REPORT HITS 'COMMERCIALIZATION OF CHILDHOOD'
Calls for Restrictions on Children-Oriented Advertising
GROUP CALLS FOR BAN ON HIGH-FAT FOOD ADVERTISING
Charges Food Companies With 'Marketing Obesity to Children'
A drive-thru in China
McDonald's revealed it will open its first drive-through restaurant in China this fall, in Shenzhen in the Guangdong province. The company said other drive-throughs would follow but declined to disclose how many.
China, the world's fastest growing economy, is a key market for the global fast-food giant, which plans to add 100 restaurants to its existing 660 units there as it ramps up its presence ahead of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games.
The shareholder meeting was the first hosted by CEO Jim Skinner and President-Chief Operating Officer Michael Roberts following the deaths last year of their predecessors, Jim Cantalupo and Charlie Bell. Mr. Skinner vowed to keep the chain on its growth course. “One thing we will not be, that’s complacent,” he said.
Mr. Skinner told the audience his priorities were long-term sustained growth, talent development and balanced lifestyles, a theme within a food industry under attack for contributing to the nation's expanding waistlines.
Marketing and advertising played a prominent role at the meeting. The audience saw several TV spots, including those for the fast-food company's balanced lifestyles initiative, Fruit and Walnut salads and Happy Meals.
Two spots shown, which were still in development, were aimed at changing the image of crew jobs and reigniting pride for the job. McDonald’s has been working to change its workforce image after the 2003 edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defined a "McJob" as a "low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement." Mr. Skinner said 40% of top management started as crew.
Benefit of a McDonald's job
One execution highlighted how successful adults from an Olympic swimmer to an astronaut benefited from what they learned on their first jobs at the Golden Arches. “What I learned there will last forever,” a voice over says. Another spot set on a muddy soccer field follows a team of hard-playing girls making dives and kicks and getting muddier and muddier. A female voice over asks, “Who am I? I’m someone who works at McDonald’s,” as the camera zooms in on her crew visor.
Mr. Roberts later compared the effort to the employee pride ads from Wal-Mart, though he carefully noted that the average Wal-Mart employee doesn’t have the opportunity to own the company the way a McDonald’s crewperson has. “We want to tell more people about that.”
Disney marketing pact
When asked about the company's options outside of the 10-year marketing pact with Walt Disney Co., now in its ninth year, Mr. Skinner said, “We will continue to work with Walt Disney through 2006 and we are looking forward to the opportunity to have flexibility in these programs.” Later in a press briefing, Mr. Skinner wouldn’t speculate on what deals the marketer might be interested in making. “We’re looking at all opportunities to leverage our part of the business,” he said.
The marketer highlighted technology innovations, including expansion of its cashless gift cards to 11,000 U.S. stores by year-end. In a meeting with reporters, Mr. Roberts said the chain would test a CD-burning kiosk at a combined McDonald’s and McCafe, set to open May 16 near the chain’s U.S. headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill.