McDonalds launches user generated advertising

SimonGeneral

Media Guardian brings news that McDonald’s has launched a new advertising campaign, centred on a member of the public’s experiences behind the scenes with the fast food giant.

Agency TBWA/London is behind the new campaign. Their executive creative director, Steve Henry, sums up the campaign’s approach neatly:

Marketing in general is moving away from the hard sell, interruptive style of advertising into engagement and involvement. We offered professional guidance on art direction, all the people picked to be quality scouts were initially sceptics. We want to show a journey with open-minded people.

The campaign is pushing people to visit a dedicated McDonald’s at www.makeyourmindup.co.uk where they can find out more.

Interestingly this website launched in May 2006 – delving into the website it looks like a good example of a corporation deliberately taking an open and transparent approach when faced with a major public relations challenge.

I particularly like the “your questions” section, where anyone can submit a question about anything about McDonald’s. Questions are answered within a fortnight. I’d like to this section, but as the entire site is coded in Flash I can’t link directly to it (a lesson there for agencies who still like creating entire websites in Flash!).

The real strength of this section is that the tone and content of many of the questions shows that they are genuine – many are directly critical. The responses to the questions are clear and don’t try to hide any potentially difficult messages.

This approach to difficult questions is a big positive step for a company trying to improve its public perception. It’ll be interesting to see how the new ad campaign works alongside the website.