McDonald’s Lost Opportunity. On a sesame seed bun.



If you are a student of marketing, fast food is a very exciting category.  It responds immediately to advertising.  Burger King is on its way back for the zillionth time and it looks as Crispin Porter Bogusky’s work is finally paying off.  Never a big fan of all the “king” advertising, I do appreciate how he is weaved into the core (youth) customer message of “eat big , eat tasty.”
On a roll since “I’m loving’ it” and especially so since the launch of salads, McDonald’s is currently pursing a pretty smart beverage strategy and has a winner on its hands with the new Southern Style Chicken sandwich. Maybe the new chicken sandwich will help win back some share lost to Burger King. And you can tell Mickey Dees is feeling a little Whopper pain because they’re launching a new promo for the Big Mac. But here’s the rub: to get younger customers interested in this dated sandwich, McDonald’s is hosting a consumer generated contest. Dohhhh!
According to an Ad Age interview: “Customers will be able to go online, create or mix their own version of the two all-beef patties jingle through MySpace,”  the best of which will be aired on TV. For those who don’t know the old Big Mac jingle it went something like this: Two all beef-patties, cheese, onions, pickles, lettuce, special sauce on a sesame seed bun. (Does it get any “funner” than that?)
This is an example of a marketing meeting gone wrong where the alpha fe/male says, “We need a promo, let’s do something with consumer generated content.” and the rest of the room does the account executive nod.
They’ll get lots of entries, I know. They’ll sell some incremental Big Macs, I know. And it may be worth a quarter’s worth of improved sales, but it’s still a lazy tactic for a fast food juggernaut.