McDonald’s Makes Happy Moments and Meals

Most Important Meals



The Covid-19 pandemic has put the spotlight back on Brand Purpose in a big way. If there’s a gulf between what brands say and what they do, crisis conditions are likely to expose it.

As Peter Field put it when he guest-starred on our webinar last week, now is a time to demonstrate “humanity and generosity” – in your behaviour, not your advertising. When brands are found wanting in those areas, unwelcome publicity will result.

But when brands are being generous, there’s no reason for them to keep quiet about it, as long as they maintain that human and generous tone in their ads.

McDonald’s is a great example. For a month now in the US it’s been giving away free “Thank You Meals” to healthcare workers and first responders, packaged in its iconic Happy Meal cartons. Its “Thank You Meals” ad promoting the scheme has scored a mighty 5.7-Stars, showing that the scheme has truly resonated with audiences, who feel good seeing one of America’s most ubiquitous brands step up in a time of need.

Of course, there’s a subtle second message in the ads too – if McDonald’s is giving out free meals, then McDonald’s must also be open for business. And it is – most of its US outlets are open for drive-through or curbside delivery. But if it had made an ad trumpeting that fact, the brand would have struck the wrong note entirely – defiance, rather than acknowledgement of people’s changed reality and the risks key workers are taking.

This way, though, they get to make audiences happier with their giveaway scheme, and tell everyone else they’re available… without making a meal of it. Brand Purpose meets good advertising.