Undeniably, the future of the fast food sector is promising and prospective. Currently, the industry is experiencing significant and impressive growth. Alongside the development experienced in the industry are stiff competition, change, and innovation which have become inevitable for companies within the industry to maintain their customer base. The negative publicity on the effect of the processed foods on people is also negatively affecting the food firms. Multiple initiatives have been enacted to address obesity that is attributed to the consumption of the fast foods. For these reasons, companies within the fast food sector are often experimenting with new strategies and techniques, which are aimed at attracting consumers and subsequently retaining the loyalty of their existing ones. Mainly, this achieved through marketing techniques and strategies employed by companies. One of the companies that are doing good in the fast food industry is McDonald’s. McDonald’s is presently the leading food service as well as the leading chain of hamburger fast food eateries globally (Alliance n.d). The company is running more than 35000 eateries in about 125 nations around the globe, serving nearly 50 million consumers daily (Bullmore & Moore 2017). Started in the United States in 1940, the company has grown faster to be among the world’s famous fast food vendors globally (Facella & Genn 2009). As at 2012, McDonald’s had risen to be the second largest privately managed restaurant in the world after Wal-Mart before rising to become the world’s largest privately owned company globally (Serazio 2018). McDonald’s offers a wide array of foods. It offers breakfast items, chicken, burgers, fries, candy, soft drinks, milk, and sirloin sandwiches. Other products offered by the company include yogurt, manually mixed vegetables, fish, smoothies, wraps, and potatoes.
In its attempts to maintain its existing customers and effectively attract new customers, McDonald’s employs various marketing strategies. The market is dynamic prompting the firms to be creative in fostering their competitive advantage. According to Alliance (n.d), McDonald’s marketing strategies and techniques have concentrated upon McDonald’s overall experience as opposed to its products alone. The company enjoys a broad customer base because of its quality services. The reason for the use of images in their adverts has often been to portray warmth as well as a real slice of daily life. McDonald’s television adverts, displaying various individuals participating in everyday activities, often function to imitate the time and season during which the advert is developed (Jayaram et al. 2015). In the history of the company, McDonald’s has not been using comparisons nor negative ads about their business rivals. It adverts, instead, concentrate upon itself.
An example is McDonald’s Timeless 60″ television campaign. In their attempt to challenge the internet connection and often-on facets of contemporary life with a nostalgic promotion within New Zealand, McDonald’s launched the Timeless TV campaign which was created by DDB. Bullmore and Moore (2017) state that the Timeless advertising taps into the awareness that family members desire to spend a lot of quality time with one another or together so that they can create an inter-generational story. The advertisement features a grandfather who is attempting to compete with knowhow and phones in his bid to spend quality and sufficient time with his grandchildren. He is depicted as cutting the electricity and then taking the children on a chain of escapades and explorations, which culminate in a meal from the McDonald’s. Adverts should connect with the target audiences to be effective. There are many ads in the public domain. Therefore, the promoters should be creative and objective in creating the adverts. According to Serazio (2018), the campaign was aimed at celebrating the timeless moments that households can experience when they are together. The campaign includes a cinema, TV, and in-store activity. According to the company’s marketing director, Jo Mitchell, the promotion was aimed at building on McDonald’s former brand work with the ultimate goal of reinforcing the emotional link it had had with the New Zealanders.
Ethical, Technological and Consumer Culture Issues
Presently, consumers and customers are extra flirtatiously gazing and looking for a rising degree of fun and variety with those things that are surrounding them for a long time jading them (Jones 2014). As days continue to pass by, these consumers demand healthy and quality foods that are offered according to their changing cultural requirements and convenience. The survival of any company dealing with food, therefore, depends on the consumers’ tastes and preferences. This has caused a significant challenge upon marketers within the food industry, some of which have been forced to resort to unethical strategies, techniques, and practices that have generated several international discussions regarding marketing and ethical practices of the food sector. Many consumers are primarily interested in the taste of the food without consideration the ingredients used in creating various food products. Ethical considerations are essential in ensuring the firms do not infringe on the existing legislation. With the number of tourists increasing globally, there has been noted an increase in traditional and cultural ideas among nations, the advancement of communication, information technology, and infrastructure as a result of globalization, liberalization, and other factors. Along with other reasons, these determinants have turned the world into a universal village, increased the spread of potential middle-class individuals because of accessibility of throwaway income, and improved economy of nations compared to past years.
With an increase in demand from majorly perpetually developing consumer niche, comprising of the young adults and children, there has been noted a rise in the market and sale of junk foodstuffs like burgers and pastries, salty snacks, and sugary breakfast cereals, among others. While it is the case that these foodstuffs are claimed to be manufactured by the employment of the best knowhow under high levels/standards of hygiene by trained and skilled experts, they have primarily been found to be poor in nutrient and high in sugars, salt, and fats (Horovitz, 2014). As a result of their contents, these fast foods have been found to contribute to an ecosystem of extra obese individuals with diet-associated non-communicable illnesses like diabetes, diseases, certain kinds of cancer, osteoporosis, as well as high blood pressure. Many pundits in the society have called upon the government to enact legislation that regulates the usage of ingredients that are harmful to people.
As a result of several technological, ethical, and cultural issues that surround foods, companies within the food manufacturing sector have to be careful about how they run every single aspect of their products’ productions. Starting with their marketing strategies, companies ensure that they communicate effectively with their customers to ensure they are well informed regarding their products. The provision of misleading information to consumers is unethical and illegal. Notwithstanding being the world’s leading and largest manufacturer of fast foods, McDonald’s was careful to ensure that its Timeless marketing campaign met its ethical, cultural, and technological missions and goals. Saifullah et al. (2014) argue that a firm will grow and exist within a marketplace by anticipating repeat commercial practices only if it meets its clients’ needs, wants, and expectations, that is, it understands its clients’ needs and wants. It is against this background that McDonald’s tries whatever is possible to ensure that it addresses various technological, ethical, and consumer culture concerns as a component of its marketing campaign. To do this, McDonald’s company used the Timeless marketing campaign to inform their customers and potential products’ consumers that they have revamped their menu to take care of their clients’ expectations, tastes, and preferences. Parsons et al. (2017) posit that there is a tug of war between tasty and healthy foods’ demand, which sometimes compel some companies within the food industry to add certain nutritional touches to their foodstuffs. For this reason, McDonald’s ensured that through their marketing campaign, they do not lose their customers because of inclinations toward healthy foodstuff habits.
Similarly, through its marketing campaigns, the company endeavors to address ethical issues related to customers’ culture. According to Murphy (2012), consumers are fast shifting to healthy lifestyles, which is posing a significant challenge to companies within the fast food sector owing to the common belief among consumers that fast foods have several side effects. The increasing cases of obesity have prompted many health agencies to discourage the consumption of fast foods. Sherry and Fischer (2017) add that a healthy lifestyle is a demand and need for this present hour besides being the biggest threat to the fast food sector in the future. Consequently, firms within the fast food sector have been forced to invent strategies and techniques to redefine and recreate their goods as well as re-strategize their marketing strategies to make their customers understand that their products are healthy and safe for consumption. To ensure that they met their customers’ need for nutritious and quality foods, McDonald’s communicated through their Timeless campaign the safety of their products, highlighting their products’ ingredients and that their products had been certified by agencies and bodies that deal with the wellbeing of consumers.
Additionally, with consumers currently more focused on foodstuffs that fit their dieting as far as cutting calories and fat are concerned unlike in the past, McDonald’s ensured that through the marketing campaign, its customers were made aware that their products are void of GMOs, artificial ingredients, or pesticides (Parsons et al. 2017). This has served to give the company a cleaner label in as far as the planet’s safety, and people’s health are concerned (McEachern 2015). To further meet its customers’ needs for healthy and quality foods, the company has as well been compelled to revamp its product lines from the standpoint of a marketing product to shift its promotion toward wellness and health offering, a message that it communicates through its marketing strategies.
Another ethical and consumer culture issue that McDonald’s tried to solve as a component of its marketing campaign is the threat of being sued. According to Murphy (2012), food consumption habits and tendencies can disrupt a person’s entire life. For this reason, laws and regulations have been set up to ensure nutritional disclosure in foodstuffs mandatory and extra stringent (Featherstone 2007). In the recent past, consumers have sued companies for producing foods that caused them obese and led to their unhealthy eating conducts (Yoon & Powell 2012). As such, McDonald’s ensured that, as part of their marketing campaigns, it remains observant to such rules and principles so that it is not sued on such grounds like failing to comply with policies and laws about food production. Moreover, through the Timeless campaign, McDonald’s communicated all details regarding their products’ components and quantities of the ingredients used to make the same.
Technologically, there is power in speed in the fast food industry. Currently, people are getting busy and having short periods to prepare their foods. As a result, the demand for food deliveries and takeaways is on the rise. As a way of meeting this demand, McDonald’s has been coming up with specific new strategies to stomach new pick-up locations and takeaway deliveries. To successfully do this, McDonald’s employed technology as was in the Timeless TV campaign. McDonald’s employs e-commerce strategies to distribute its products that are manufactured with high levels of technologies. Alongside being a the brick-and-mortar company, the company operates online avenues to reach its consumers, to communicate to them where the company’s products can be found within a region, how they can get the company’s products, and where their customers can place orders for the company’s products conveniently. In the company’s campaigns, a link, address, and other details are added to allow the company’s customers to reach out to the company in case there is a need.
Furthermore, McDonald’s tried to ensure that they keep abreast with technological advancement and keep shifting with their customers’ needs’ changes. Through marketing campaigns, the company communicates addition in the value of their products, which entails displaying the level of technology employed, the extent to which technology has been employed, and the use of technology in accessing the company’s new products. Gaski (1999) notes that value-added beverages and foods, like products that are fortified with minerals, proteins, or vitamins, are getting more popular among consumers who are currently in search of price and flavor when making decisions regarding items to buy. For this reason, manufacturers are in pursuit of ways to add value to their products and services without necessarily spending much on their products and services’ production.
Another issue that McDonald’s tried to solve as part of its marketing campaign is to ensure that its products are extra convenient. Ahmed et al. (2014) observe that the growth in snacking among customers and consumers has made manufacturers to reconsider their products’ packaging and design to ensure that they are extra convenient as well as suitable for consuming on the go. For this reason, McDonald’s endevoured to ensure that they make their products convenient to their consumers by making sure that the products are rightly packaged, made using the right technology, comply with health principles and regulations as stipulated by agencies responsible for foods’ standards and quality. This was communicated through the campaign.
From the preceding, it is evident that the Timeless marketing campaign that was used by McDonald’s exhibit specific strengths and weaknesses. The campaign showcases the iconic depictions from throughout the past years by highlighting how technology, fashion, and politics have systematically evolved. Equally, the campaign included other components, like retro Snapchat filters, along with social media component probing users what they looked at when they were considering purchasing an item. One outstanding thing also is that the campaign highlights the need for the family being together. As such, it appears to show that McDonald’s can solve the problem by offering fast foods to families thus helping them to redeem the little time that they may be having in communing together.
On the other hand, the campaign does not come out clearly on McDonald’s attempts to conserve the environment neither is it clear on the effect of their fast foods upon the lives of their products’ consumers. Additionally, the campaign takes 60 minutes, somewhat a long time, for this generation of people who try to redeem every single amount of time for other reasons. As such, most people may not be keen to watch the video campaign roll out till the end. Lastly, the campaign is only accessible to those that have embraced media use and have access to the Internet.
Recommendations to Better McDonald’s Campaigns In The Future
From the foregoing literature, the following recommendations would be apt for consideration by McDonald’s to help them better address the technological, ethical, and/or consumer culture issues. First, there is a need that the company follow basic ethical, technological, and consumer culture issues. The first and foremost need is that marketers should commit no harm and work appropriately by adhering to standards, norms, regulations, and laws that have been set out by organizations, bodies, and agencies that govern with the marketers’ line of duty, for McDonald’s, bodies that deal with fast food production. For this reason, McDonald’s will be compelled to automatically do what it takes to add value to their customers and organizations through and this would be well stipulated on the company’s campaign programs. Through their campaigns, McDonald’s should ensure that the products that they are promoting are suitable for their promoted and intended uses for which deliberately misleading or deceptive communication ought to be avoided. Technological, ethical, and consumer culture issues should effectively be communicated, embraced, and practiced so that the company can improve its consumers’ confidence and trust in their products. They should equally display honesty by ensuring that they are forthright or truthful in all their dealings with their employees, investors, consumers, governments, health and quality overseers, and other stakeholders (Jhally 2000). McDonald’s ought, therefore, to have responsibility and accept the implications of any marketing strategies and choices, ought to be fair by attempting to justly balance their consumers and buyers’ needs with their interests and goals, have respect for elementary human dignity for all its stakeholders and the environment, be transparent by creating openness in their marketing campaigns and operations, and lastly fulfil legal, philanthropic, economic, and societal obligations that serve its stakeholders in a proper strategic manner (Jhally 2009).
Secondly, there is a need to ensure that its future campaigns concentrate upon some particular issues. While it is necessary that a company’s campaign marketing can meet all rights and responsibilities, there is a need to specifically focus on a particular one to avoid making the campaign clumsy and overloaded (Richards et al. 2000; Sherry & Fischer, 2017). As such, McDonald’s ought to focus upon particular issues like the ones mentioned below:
Thirdly, McDonald’s should strive to make safer products. Through their campaigns, the company should endevour to make it explicit that their products are safe and healthy and fit for human consumption. Saifullah et al. (2014) posit that companies should manufacture foods that are lighter with the least amount of calories and fat and suggests that companies can achieve this by selling more healthy sandwiches and salads. The same case should apply to McDonald’s and this should be conveyed to its consumers through campaign marketing in the future. Similarly, regarding soft drink manufacturing, McDonald’s should consider increase its package drinking water. To this water, the company could add vitamins and nutrients for purposes of delivering better health outcomes to individuals who are deprived of such nutrients and vitamins.
Lastly, McDonald’s should, through its marketing campaigns, support their determinations to foster healthy diets and healthy eating behaviours. Since most people have restricted proficiency in nutritional facets of any foodstuff, companies that have extensive and elaborate skills in persuasive methodologies ought to ensure that they support governments in conveying the implications of different foodstuffs on the quality of health of a consumer (Ahmed et al. 2014). For this reason, McDonald’s could communicate to their target consumers through effective media such as television via the use of celebrities, cartoons, contents, among other strategies, concerning low-nutrition foodstuffs that do not have benefits on human life but rather harm them. McDonald’s could also discourage their consumers from buying drugs, cigarettes, or alcoholic beverages since this will assist the society to better itself.
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