Where have the golden arches gone? Has anti-branding paid off?

McDonald’s released its ‘Create Your Taste’ menu with obvious anti-branding – how very un McDonald’s. Anti-branding is a marketing concept whereby a brand will “play dress up” to attract consumer’s who are not necessarily attracted to the brand.  In this instance, McDonald’s can be seen to be jumping on the bandwagon of the burger craze – think Grill’d and the like.  There is however considerable risk with anti-branding. 

The advertisements for Create Your Taste can be seen to missing the distinctive features we have learnt to know as McDonald’s.  Distinctive features are memory cues used by the audience to link the brand to the ad.  Create Your Taste is missing key features we have learnt to associate with McDonald’s such as the golden arches, I’m Loving It and It’s a little bit fancy.  In this new campaign, we are introduced to a new logo, a new style of advertising and a new typeface.  It is not an easy process to learn something therefore it is a concern that when McDonald’s finish this campaign, will they expect us to remember the memory cues from before Create Your Taste? This will be very confusing for the consumer, especially with the new audience attracted by Create Your Taste.

However McDonald’s have retained using the word “McDonald’s” in some mediums along with the same audio at the end of their TVC.  This is an intelligent move as they have not completely abandoned the brand they have spend so long building up.  Further, a small proportion of the audience watch and listen to an advertisement on television.  Therefore, it is important for McDonald’s to use the same audio jingle to reach those who are not watching, but are within earshot.

There is an opportunity for McDonald’s to continue this direction and rebrand, especially given this is the biggest transformation we have seen in the fast food industry.  This would be an exciting and revolutionary direction for McDonalds to take.

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