McDonald’s has been playing their cards at attempting honesty and transparency. A smart move for the brand who is often accused of quite the opposite.
Within one of their Canadian websites, they offer customers the opportunity to ask them any question that’s on their mind. McDonald’s then replies directly to the question either by written reply or video.
Recently, Hope Bagozzi, Director of marketing for McDonald’s Canada, replied to the question:
“Why does your food look different in the advertising than what is in the store?”
Here is the video reply where Bagozzi thoroughly responds to this question:
Although there seems to be mixed feelings about the truth revealed within this video, the general sentiment seems to be that people are:
- Happy with the thorough answer; and
- Happy to see McDonald’s taking a transparent approach and proactively shining some positive light on their brand.
Not just the easy questions
Within this honesty campaign, I was happy to find that McDonald’s is staying true to their word and not only answering the easy questions. When asked:
“Is your beef actually 100% pure beef or is that just the name of the company?”
here’s the video reply McDonald’s published:
Does this honesty campaign risk sending McDonald’s into a social media crisis, ruining their reputation even further?
It’s a question that is being asked, and from what I’ve seen so far, McDonald’s is doing a great job at attempting to prove their transparency and answer both the hard questions and the easier ones.
Because this campaign is based on truth and transparency (and of course scripted and strategically prepared by their marketing team), the only way McDonald’s could truly hurt their image with this is if they released a reply that was proven to be dishonest or less than truthful.
Since McDonald’s is in complete control, answering the questions they feel important to answer, crafting an honest and proving response and uploading it to their platforms, I think they’re on to something brilliant!
They’ve really embarked onto the power of social media, playing by the rules and getting creative!
What do you think of McDonald’s new truth campaign? Do you think it will help in bettering their image, or do you believe it to be just another marketing ploy that people won’t buy into? Share your thoughts with me below!
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.
Javier Arronis says
Excellent post Melissa, as ussual, I think McDonalds is a company that has as many supporters as detractors, but has managed to survive very harsh campaigns against them not only because they has managed to fight back with big marketing campaigns and advertising investment but because they have a product that is attractive for many people.
McDonald´s are not high quality but fast food restaurants, and many people like them so there is nothing wrong with it if they are honest and transparent when communicate with their customers, that´s why I´m totally agree when you say that "They’ve really embarked onto the power of social media, playing by the rules and getting creative!"
Melissa Agnes says
McDonald's is one of the biggest and oldest brands in the world, and no matter how we may dislike them, or know that their food leads to obesity and diabetes, many of us still find ourselves indulging in a BigMac from time to time (and others more often).
Their ability to adapt to new trends and now attempt to meet the public's demand of transparency and trust is what continues to keep them strong and resilient.
Thanks, once again, for taking the time to leave your thoughts, Javier!
McDonalds (and all other businesses in the industry) can serve up the junk food, but they're not forcing anybody to eat it. People need to take responsibility for what they put in their bodies, and the bodies of their kids. There's a bigger issue here around food distribution and (lack of) government subsidies for healthy food but I won't go into that.
As I posted on LinkedIn, this is a clever campaign and I cannot see how it can hurt their business. People like honesty, and most people have inbuilt B.S detectors.
Melissa Agnes says
Not so sure if I'd say most people have built-in BS detectors, but many do!! I agree with you, Anf, it is clever and unless their untruthful or decide not to answer some extremely hard questions, it will only be good for their brand and reputation.
As for people taking responsibility for what they put into their bodies… you're right, but not something to get in to on this blog!
Thanks for taking the time to post both comments!
I love the campaign!
With the past decade’s bad press on fast food this seems like a great PR step forward, before another “Supersize Me” hits the box office. After all, the advertising (photo retouching) process has been exposed by other big brands like Dove so it’s no longer a mystery nor a risk. In the current world where increasingly skeptical & informed consumers are over saturated with advertisements, honesty is a fantastic way forward. Cheers to the end of the spin era in PR! =)
As for social media, it’s merely a tool, that contemporary businesses can’t afford to be disengaged from. The campaign’s strategy and concept did well in maximizing the interactive aspect of social media. As for a social media crisis, McDonalds have been receiving harsh critics for decades now, with or without effort from the organization, hence this campaign seems more like a crisis prevention from my humble point of view!