Mcdonald's New Communication Strategy on Changing Attitudes and Lifestyle

Topics: Nutrition, American Dietetic Association, Junk food Pages: 11 (3851 words) Published: July 10, 2010
International Journal of Marketing Studies

May, 2009

McDonald’s New Communication Strategy on Changing Attitudes and Lifestyle Tianbai Deng MBA Marketing, SolBridge International School of Business Daejeon 305-340, South Korea E-mail: Abstract Achieving and maintaining wide-scale positive dietary and lifestyle change is a complex and formidable endeavor, given the current food environment. Moreover, for positive change to occur, nutrition messages should be communicated in a scientifically precise, yet practical and motivating manner. McDonald’s tries its best to adapt communication strategies to changing situation. In the paper, discussions regarding communication efforts and the best methods to take, deliver, and evaluate the impact of nutrition messages illustrated both the challenges and the opportunities McDonald’s is facing. The description of communication analysis, channels and strategies illustrate McDonald’s communication strategies in the near future. Keywords: McDonald’s, Communication strategies, Lifestyle change 1. Analysis of the Situation 1.1 Health situation in America Nowadays, some two-thirds of Americans are overweight, roughly 30 percent of American children are overweight or obese, and Big Macs and super-size French fries have drawn criticism and lawsuits for McDonald’s promoting obesity. Governments and influential health advocates around the world blame the marketers for explosion in childhood obesity. Many countries have taken some measures to ban fast food TV advertisings with the cartoon character directly to children, force fast food advertisings to include healthy-eating messages, or take greater self-regulations. 1.2 McDonald’s Key Issue To respond to the global criticism and “Super Size Me” negative effects on McDonald’s, McDonald’s has already done a lot of active marketing and communication strategies to avoid such negative effects on the brand image: broke a “Change” campaign that replaced McDonald’s Golden Arches with a question mark to show its dramatic change on food nutrition structure, promoted menu changes with healthier salad, fruit…and small portion size, offered “Happy Meal” for adults and children, encouraging a balanced and healthy lifestyle… Despite McDonald’s great effort on changing people’s attitude towards McDonald’s and making public aware of new healthy products without abandoning the Arches, research showed that the chain hadn’t received the hoped-for awareness for some of the newer items on its menu and frequent users didn’t like to admit to friends that they ate at McDonald’s. With the commission to helping solve the U.S. obesity problem and advocating a balanced lifestyle between daily calorie intake and physical activity, McDonald’s found although people know a lot about the balanced food and healthy lifestyle, it is still very difficult to change people’s behavior of keeping on taking junk foods in McDonald’s and to associate McDonald’s brand image with healthy food. 1.3 SWOT Analysis Strength: Strong brand name and reputation Sales increased 7.4% in 2008, confidence market toward McDonald. Strong and wide communication channel in the market. Weakness: Narrow product lines. 37

Vol. 1, No. 1 McDonald brand association as junk foods. Opportunity:

International Journal of Marketing Studies

Opportunity to enlarge market, the consumers who care about healthy issue. Slightly changing market brand image about McDonald. Threat: Changing taste of the consumers. Public attack about obesity issue. 1.4 Core of McDonald’s Current Problem The core of the current problem is that people still keep on buying only junk foods in McDonald’s although they know much about what is healthy and nutritional food, what can damage his health; people still think McDonald’s is a junk food restaurant although it also provides healthy foods. Also, the confusion and skepticism about fast food nutrition messages are contributing to the problem. The media today...

References: International Journal of Marketing Studies
American Dietetic Association. Attitudes, Knowledge, Beliefs, Behaviors: Findings of American Dietetic Association’s Public Opinion Survey Nutrition and You: Trends 2002. [Online] Available: (Retrieved from June 30, 2005) American Dietetic Association. In Dramatically Increasing Numbers, TV and Magazines Remain Consumers’ Most Popular Sources of Nutrition Information, American Dietetic Association Survey Shows. [Online] Available: (Retrieved from June 30, 2005) Barbara J. Wilson. (2007). Designing Media Messages About Health and Nutrition: What Strategies Are Most Effective. J Nutr Educ Behav, 39:S13-S19. J.E. Maddux and R.W. Rogers. (1980). Effects of source expertness, physical attractiveness, and supporting arguments on persuasion: a case of brains over beauty. J Pers Soc Psychol, 39, pp. 235–244. Patterson RE, Satia JA, Kristal AR, Neuhouser ML & Drewnowski A. (2001). Is there a consumer backlash against the diet and health message? J Am Diet Assoc, 101:37-41.
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