McDonald's Gives Packaging a Flashy Update

New Look Highlights Food Pictures, Plays Down 'Lovin' It' Slogan

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CHICAGO ( -- McDonald's is scrapping its package design across 118 countries and 56 languages in what Global Chief Marketing Officer Mary Dillon called the "biggest packaging initiative in the history of the brand." The new look puts more emphasis on product and less on the brand's iconic "I'm lovin' it" tagline.
New package design for the Big Mac: There is only one.
New package design for the Big Mac: There is only one.

In a meeting with reporters today, Ms. Dillon said McDonald's is "putting the focus on food." Each new package focuses on the item enclosed, with pictures of the sandwich or nuggets and a rallying cry, such as "There is only one" for Big Mac; "Full steam ahead" for the Filet-O-Fish; or "Share me nots" for chicken nuggets. The packages are bright red, purple, yellow and blue with a wide variety of fonts.

Wholesome imagery
Nutrition information, pictures of ingredients and "I'm lovin' it" are printed on the sides -- de-emphasizing the tagline, which earlier was featured prominently at the top of each package. To subtly indicate freshness and quality ingredients, the new food bags have pictures of potatoes, lettuce, wheat, eggs and even farm machinery.

Pierre Woreczek, chief brand and strategy officer-marketing, McDonald's Europe, described the repackaging as a move from "100% I'm lovin' it lifestyle," to something that also assured consumers of product quality in a "young tonality." He added, "We're modernizing brand identity using packaging as a badge value."

McDonald's tapped Marketing Store subsidiary Boxer, London and Birmingham, England, for the redesign. The British design shop created the fast feeder's current red-and-white "I'm lovin' it" packaging. Ms. Dillon declined to provide the cost for the redesign or the increased cost associated with producing the new packages, which are heavy on color and graphics. But she said the expense will be shared across the entire system, and added that test subjects vastly preferred the new packaging to the old.

New packaging will arrive first in Ireland, Great Britain and the U.S. this month. It will be available in all 118 countries the fast feeder serves, and in 56 languages, by the end of 2010.

Snazzy work
The redesign "is pretty inventive for the category," said Ron Romanik, editor of Package Design magazine. "I haven't seen anything like it in the fast-food category, for sure. It's almost Nike-ish." Mr. Romanik estimated that McDonald's may have paid Boxer as much as eight figures for the redesign. But the cost of implementation, he said, "would be almost impossible to calculate."

The real cost would have to take into account that McDonald's is "probably changing suppliers, printers, who they're using for sourcing for their packaging," he said. "One thing companies don't like to do is switch suppliers. They try to get designers to design within the capabilities they already have so they don't want to give anything on those margins."

Ms. Dillon described the graphic-heavy look as an investment. "It will increase the perceptions about the quality of our food," she said.
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