After McDonald's big emphasis on eating breakfast all of the time, restaurant operators in the chain's hometown are ready to remind people to start their days with Mickey D's.
A campaign breaking Monday uses the new tagline "Make it a Mickey D's Morning" and includes TV, radio, out-of-home and social ads.
The campaign is only for the region run by the McDonald's Owner/Operators of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana (MOCNI), a co-op that oversees hundreds of restaurants.
Breakfast has definitely played an important role for McDonald's over the past few quarters. The October 2015 rollout of All Day Breakfast was a huge success and additions to that menu in 2016 continued to help boost sales nationwide. But as McDonald's focused on serving items including Egg McMuffins, hash browns, and McGriddles at all hours, breakfast competitors including Dunkin' Donuts rolled out their own new drinks and sandwiches aimed at morning buyers.
After McDonald's posted four consecutive quarters of growth at longstanding U.S. restaurants, same-store sales fell 1.3% in the fourth quarter. McDonald's pegged the U.S. decline largely on the anniversary of the successful launch of All Day Breakfast.
And the company keeps looking for ways to bring in more customers. Comparable guest counts, or the number of transactions at longstanding restaurants, fell in 2016 for the fourth year in a row.
Cossette, which has the MOCNI account, saw an opportunity to showcase what it sees as McDonald's competitive differentiation and competitive advantage. The early part of its new campaign focuses on the Egg McMuffin, the chain's signature breakfast sandwich.
The TV commercial pokes fun at how a morning can go poorly without breakfast. A woman who used to skip breakfast recounts what happened when she scrambled at her desk to get ready for a meeting and hastily applied black marker rather than eyeliner.
Even though McDonald's is based in nearby Oak Brook and is moving to Chicago, it is outnumbered by Dunkin' Donuts in the Chicago market. There are 30% more Dunkin' Donuts shops in the market than McDonald's, according to data shared by Cossette.
"There's a bigger opportunity here to look at breakfast a little more holistically," said Alyssa Huggins, managing director of Cossette's Chicago office.
Breakfast advertising has run in the area before. There has not been a big breakfast campaign locally since 2015 when MOCNI used an animated spot to promote a then-new line of muffins.
At the same time, the local restaurants might also see an increase in morning visits from the national push of $1 coffee.
MOCNI is not solely focused on breakfast. The region will also advertise the McPick 2 value platform for lunch and dinner items.
Cossette became MOCNI's lead advertising agency in 2014, replacing Leo Burnett. OMD is the media agency on the account. Cossette also handles McDonald's advertising in Canada.