During its recent shareholders meeting and in a brief interview session afterwards with reporters, McDonald's executives reaffirmed their commitment to their advertising focus on Extra Value Meals. Those discounted meal packages now account for 45% of transactions during lunch and dinner hours, said senior executive vp/chief marketing officer Paul Schrage. McDonald's will be more heavily promoting Extra Value Meal breakfast combinations this year.
President Ed Rensi said McDonald's has more new products testing than ever before in the chain's history. Many are getting local television advertising support, but the creative is coming from national agencies Leo Burnett and DDB Needham, both Chicago, not from local co-op agencies. McDonald's recently confirmed it is looking to pare its roster of local agencies to increase marketing efficiency.
Among the foods getting advertised tryouts are McStuffins - french bread stuffed with one of four fillings (Philly beef and cheese, teriyaki chicken, pepperoni pizza and barbecue chicken) - and the Mac's Grill grilled chicken sandwich.
Mighty Wings, a fried-chicken product backed by television spots from Burnett featuring Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan, are testing very well, according to Rensi. But supply shortages have blocked a national rollout, he explained. A formal, corporate test of bone-in fried chicken will begin this summer in Norfolk, Va.
In response to a shareholder question about McDonald's tie-in with Batman Returns last summer, Schrage said McDonald's 'made a mistake' in including a Happy Meal element for young children. The chain's tie-in with Jurassic Park targets teens only. Rensi denied McDonald's had pressured MCA/Universal to tone down the violence in Jurassic Park, saying, 'It's their movie.'
McDonald's hasn't signed any new sports stars as spokespersons, Schrage said, but he added there 'was one that got away I wanted very badly, and that was Shaquille O'Neal.' The Orlando Magic rookie signed with Pepsi-Cola Co., putting him off-limits for Coca-Cola ally McDonald's.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)