McDonald’s Marketing Plans Include Ronald, Diners, Boston Market

NEW YORK–Heeding chairman/CEO Jack M. Greenberg challenge that “More than ever before, we must adapt and seize opportunities,” McDonald’s plans to re-invigorate its Ronald McDonald icon in all marketing and branding messages, expand its “McDonald’s with a Diner Inside” concept and undertake global expansion for its Boston Market subsidiary.

“We need to knit Ronald McDonald back into all our brand advertising,” said Tom Ryan, chief U.S. marketing officer. Though Ronald McDonald has always been important, his presence will significantly increase in 2002 as the company intends to highlight his appeal to children and families, according to Ryan.

In one of the TV spots, a father desperately tries to get his son to laugh the way Mom (who does everything right) always seems to do. At a McDonald’s, the kid is still sullen when Ronald McDonald appears and cheers the kid up, making Dad a hero. The tagline, as previously reported in Brandweek, has been shortened from “We love to see you smile” to “Smile.”

McDonald’s will convert 12 of its traditional restaurants in Illinois into McDonald’s with a Diner Inside, restaurants whose menus includes meatloaf and chicken fried steak as well as McDonald’s hamburgers and fries. The first test-market concept opened in March in Kokomo and is “on track to move from $1.4 million to $2.3 million in annual sales,” said Ryan.

Regarding Boston Market, McDonald’s has plans for three in Toronto next year, testing the Canadian market for the first time with its casual, cafeteria-style dining chain subsidiary. McDonald’s also wants to open an outlet next spring in Sydney, Australia, through an agreement with McDonald’s Australia, according to Phyllis Hammond, Boston Market vice-president of communications.

“Our decision to bring Boston Market to Canada was not a hard one to make,” said Bill Johnson, president of McDonald’s Canada. “The customers who come to the three outlets will tell us if there is a market for it. We have the tools and the infrastructure in place to make it work, and it won’t interfere with our core business.”