Your McDonald’s Rebrand Is Here

By Patrick Coffee 

golden arches

Back in July, we shared news on McDonald’s upcoming attempt to improve its financial standing via that old canard, “storytelling in advertising.”

August brought word that Leo Burnett would be tasked with handling the reinvention, and today The Wall Street Journal elaborated a bit on the details. The brand’s sort-of-new tagline will be:


“Lovin’ Beats Hatin'”

Yes, that’s it; no Gs. “People familiar with the matter” said that the point behind the slogan, which will officially launch in January and feature in an extended :60 spot set to air during Super Bowl XLIX, is that consumers have the ability to spread happiness despite all the time we spend trolling online. (Some of us, at least.)

No need to stop dancing, though, JT: “I’m Lovin’ It” will still be around.

McDonald’s obviously wants analysts and the public at large to discuss the implications of the three words unveiled today despite a spokesperson’s claims that “It’s highly speculative and premature to talk about Super Bowl ads and future campaigns for next year.”

Translation: “PLEASE talk about Super Bowl ads and future campaigns.”

As you almost certainly heard and/or guessed, we can look to the chain’s affiliate up north for some hints as to where the messaging will go. McDonald’s Canada got a lot of positive attention for its “what goes into a burger photo shoot” and “what the hell is pink slime?” videos, and the company just launched the “Our Food. Your Questions.” campaign — originally developed by Tribal DDB — in the United States.

We’ll see how effective it is, and you’re right to be skeptical.

In an amazing coincidence, today we spoke to an executive at PR firm Cohn & Wolfe (which does not represent McDonald’s) about a recent project that surveyed thousands of people around the world in an attempt to determine which brands consumers see as most “authentic.” The global crown went to the golden arches, though the brand didn’t score first in any individual country. This isn’t just because people are familiar with the name, though: as global practice leader of corporate affairs Geoff Beattie told us, “authenticity is about delivering what you promise, and McDonald’s does that.”

…even if that delivery isn’t so kind to your waistline or your digestive system.

So yes, Leo Burnett faces a significant challenge. And all eyes will be on the Super Bowl spot, especially since ads created for McD’s rivals like Wendy’s and Burger King have performed more effectively in recent months. But the proposition isn’t necessarily such a stretch.

McDonald’s profits may be down, but for various reasons consumers still views the company as “authentic.” We expect the coming work to reflect that fact.

On a completely unrelated note, here’s a pop-up store: