Now THIS Is How To Use A Distinctive Asset…

Brand assets don’t get more iconic than McDonalds’ Golden Arches. For some marketers in charge of such a famous symbol the temptation might be to fiercely protect how and when they can be used. But in a visual age, brands are starting to get a lot more playful.

McDonalds is a great example. We first noticed it when McDonalds Canada produced a series of “direction sign” billboards with a beautifully clever use of the classic “M”.

Then we saw its global rebrand for International Womens Day, flipping the M to create a W.

Finally, we saw an Australian “Summer” campaign in AdAge which makes an even subtler and funnier use of the arches.

As that piece shows, we’re not the only ones to spot how playful McDonalds has been getting lately.

But what’s interesting to us is the implications for distinctive assets and brand Fluency – the quick recognition factor that helps people rapidly select brands.

The basic advice for brands when building an asset is consistency, focus, and repetition – build up a small set of assets, use them consistently and often, and reap the benefits in Fluency.

What these McDonalds campaigns show is that when your asset is strong enough you can start to play around with it – ring the changes in ways that use your Fluency as the heart of the creative.

Building strong assets doesn’t just pay off in branding terms – they can unlock creativity and emotion too.


At System1, we help the world’s largest advertisers make confident, creative decisions that lead to transformational business results. Our powerful ad testing platform (Test Your Ad) and our idea testing platform (Test Your Idea) help brands predict the commercial potential of ads and ideas. Complementing TYA and TYI is Test Your Brand, our brand tracking tool which measures the impact of ads and ideas on brand health, ensuring long-term brand growth through predictive success.

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