Why McDonald's Changed Its Restaurant Name Down Under

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As part of Ad Age's latest annual Awards Report tabulating the most creatively celebrated companies and personalities of the year, we asked winning marketers and agencies about their campaigns.

"Shrimp on the barbie," the famous line spoken by Aussie Paul Hogan for a '80s Australia tourism video, spread so far worldwide that many non-Australians know nicknames and shortened words are part of the Down Under vernacular. McDonald's Australia tapped into that cultural curiosity for a brand-centric campaign in which it briefly changed the name of 13 of its restaurants to the affectionate nickname Aussies use -- Macca's – for Australia Day and its 40th Anniversary there.

Big Macca
Big Macca

Ad Age caught up with McDonald's Australia CMO Mark Lollback to discuss how it put together a campaign that helped the fast-feeder crack the top 10 advertiser list in this year's Awards Report.

Did it take fortitude to back this seemingly risky marketing?
This campaign was really exciting for us because it was simple, but so incredibly powerful. It was rooted in a cultural truism, in a way of speaking, that we've been a part of for decades. Aussies are extremely proud of who we are and where we're from, and part of being an Aussie or being accepted by Aussies is to be given a nickname – it's a unique and defining element of Australian culture. At McDonald's we're extremely proud to be affectionately referred to as Macca's. It's such a deeply ingrained label that more than half of Aussies don't call us McDonald's, they only call us Macca's.

How do you get buy in from higher ups to pursue an unorthodox marketing approach?
One of McDonald's strengths is our global consistency, but also our ability to meet customer demands locally. So, we worked closely with the global McDonald's team on the rationale, approach and execution all the way through. The strength of the insights from our customers and the obvious presence of the local brand, Macca's, in the market was the driving force behind bringing it to life here.

Can you offer advice for how to push the creative envelope and still get results?
At the end of the day, any campaign needs to put the consumer first – it has to be insight driven, but it also has to be aligned with your brand. Consumers love it when brands surprise them with the unexpected, and so there's always room to push the creative envelope, but it has to still reflect what they think of and how they feel about the brand and what it offers. You can be bold without being shocking.

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