Did PR make my burger juicier? 

Despite working in a team of self-proclaimed foodies, I’m not ashamed to admit that from time to time, the allure of the Golden Arches is hard to resist. So, when I heard it was changing for the first time in 50 years – I was intrigued.

It all started on TikTok

Where I spend more time than I’d care to admit. When you work in marketing and PR, it’s all technically research, actually. I was scrolling when I saw the first piece of media about McDonalds’ new campaign.

This video from The Sun popped up on my FYP (for the uninitiated, that’s a For You Page).  In it, I learned from Thomas O’Neill, who’s Head of Menu at McDonald’s UK, that ‘small tweaks’ were being made to the iconic patties and buns, all in the hope of making a more delicious cheeseburger. 

This got me as intrigued as I was impressed. McDonald’s have been selling good ol’ cheeseburgers since the 40s.  Surely, during that time the recipe has evolved, tweaked and changed regularly. How is it news? 

What is actually changing?

This was my next thought while watching the video. Quickly followed by these…

  • Would the price go up? 
  • Would the burgers be thicker?
  • Would they start using real cheese instead of whatever that plasticky goodness is? 

As it turns out, small tweaks really do mean small tweaks. Predominantly, the cooking procedure was changing. 

  1. ‘New grill settings’ promised to make the burgers hotter and juicier.
  2. Onions would be added at the grill for better flavour.
  3. Softer, meltier cheese slices would be used.
  4. And finally, a new recipe for the bun was arriving – and it was to be toasted a little longer for maximum flavour. 

Next, it was Instagram

As a social media geek, I see it as my job to follow big brands to keep an eye on what they’re doing. So when I saw McDonald’s had created an immersive 360* burger experience – I was impressed. Not only at their ability to make me say those words in that order and to make me think about that new and improved burger,  again. 

Coincidentally, the McDonald’s marketing machine also put out billboards that smelled like fries around this time, which I guess is testament to the size of their marketing budget, but it’s also a great case study for PR momentum when launching, sorry, tweaking, something new.

Then it was the cinema

Before I saw Mothers’ Instinct (it was just ok) – I saw this pre-roll ad from McDonald’s (which was great). 

I love it because it’s like McDonald’s, alongside their creative agency, Leo Burnett,  are acknowledging that they’re not reinventing the wheel, but that these tiny tweaks add up. 

Each isn’t individually noticeable, but together, they make things that bit tastier. A little bit more Mmmm? 

Then I started to see the out of home campaign everywhere. Where I live, on my way to work, at bus stops – basically everywhere I went. 

Well played, McDonald’s.

Then they took the front page of the METRO

And I thought, now they’ve really done it. I officially wanted to try a burger, just to see. Just to taste the hype and tell if I could even taste the difference or if I had just got sucked into the PR machine (despite working in PR myself).

In any case, you have to hand it to them, that’s a bad-ass front page.

My trip to McDonald’s

Started in a retail park, because if their marketing hasn’t hit the suburbs – you know it ain’t the real deal. 

When the burger came, it was hot – hotter than usual. Perhaps the hottest a McDonald’s burger has ever been. 

The cheese was so melty it was stuck to the paper. 

The meat was juicy, but not greasy. Those grill settings must be working! 

It was perfectly peppered and topped with the right amount of everything.

The fries were as they always are –  heavenly. 

“This is one of the best McDonald’s I’ve ever had”, said my girlfriend. I agreed.

PR or BS? 

Would I have had the same experience had I not been bombarded with ads telling me how much I’d enjoy my next McDonald’s experience? Maybe. But I did see the ads, and I did think my burger was somewhat different, better?

Would I have even wanted a McDonald’s at all for another few months had I not seen all this commotion? 

Everything they did got me thinking about the brand.  When a campaign is that big, as big as the Golden Arches, it’s a form of explicit bias; you can feel it, and you’re ok with it. It changes perceptions slowly over time.

And a few small tweaks over time can reinvent your brand.

Want to geek out over big campaigns with us? Drop us a line and we can chew the fat over a McDonald’s. 

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