McD’s Readies Final ’05 Menu Add-On

NEW YORK After a successful test run in cities like Milwaukee and Pittsburgh, McDonald’s will make its new Premium Chicken Sandwich available nationally beginning Aug. 2, according to the company.

Television ads, from Omnicom Group’s DDB Chicago, will convey the message that you can get a higher-quality chicken sandwich for a fast-food price. One spot shows a man lifting his little fingers as he eats to imply the sandwiches are classy.

A sampling program, running Aug. 11 to Aug. 14, continues the theme. Patrons will be handed menus when they enter the restaurants. The menus will offer a coupon for free fries and a drink with the purchase of a sandwich. Radio, print and regional out-of-home ads support will support the sampling.

The Premium Chicken Sandwiches are the second and final major menu addition for the year, said Ubong Ituen, senior director of menu management for the Oak Brook, Ill.-based chain. The first was the Fruit & Walnut Premium Salad launched in May.

The chain has shut down the test of Flat Bread sandwiches and has scaled back the test of Oven Selects, a.k.a. Toasted Deli Subs, from 30 to five markets. The McVeggie burger remains in test in New York, with no current plans to roll it out nationally.

McDonald’s has been riding a hot streak as sales grew by almost $2 billion last year to $24.4 billion, per Technomic, Chicago. Prior product launches like Premium Salads and the McGriddles sandwich have been credited in part for this surge.

“We do a lot of testing to build up the portfolio,” said Ituen. “We’re building on consumer preferences.”

One imminent launch is the new Premium Roast Coffee currently in test at more than 500 locations in Michigan. That product is expected to debut “later next year,” according to Ituen.

McDonald’s spent nearly $530 million on advertising last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence.