McDonald’s is a well-known multinational organization known to a million people all over the world. This multi-national organization has been earning name in the field of fast food. It has a market cap of $85 Billion Dollars with 35,000 locations in 118 countries around the world. Not just this, but it has made itself known to be a tough competition for anyone who wishes to enter in this field. McDonald’s is one of the largest brands using different Public Relationship strategies and campaigns to create more and more awareness amongst its customersand not just this, but to attract a thousand more, to increase its sales and good looks.
McDonald’s believes Public Relations as a core part of its major marketing plans. These PR campaigns include the offering of salads, extended restaurant hours, the ask MacDonald’s YouTube campaign; track my Macca’s app, Iced fruit smoothie app and many more.
Where McDonald’s has been successful in running successful Public Relations campaigns, it has also faced many downfalls regarding these campaigns which have affected its image but not to a great extent. Similarly, McDonald’s designed and executed a PR campaign that is one of its best. This Public Relations campaign was very keenly designed on a large scale to run not only in one country but to run in all the countries where the organization existed.
Public Relations is an extremely effective way for any organization to attract customers and audience from all over the world and to to sell your product in the most efficient way possible. This technique has been used by ancient Greeks and there are different ways of using it. Amongst the hundreds and thousands of these campaigns of McDonald’s which either proved to be successes or a failures, “Happy Meal” was one of the best Public Relations campaigns adopted by MacDonald’s. This Public Relations campaign of McDonald’s started back in June 1979. Bob Berstein is known as the “Father of the Happy Meal”. He developed the idea and then shared it with the marketing department headed by Dick Brams. The campaign was designed very particularly, keeping in mind to attract children of all ages and gain popularity and success all over. The campaign first started in England and America and after gaining success, it then spread to other countries which include the European countries and the Asian countries as well, where McDonald’s was gaining popularity on a daily, weekly and sometimes monthly basis.
The Happy Meal, when started, contained a burger, fries, and a toy which was accompanied by the drink. In the beginning the accessories it contained except for food was a McDoodle Stencil, a McWrist Wallet, an ID bracelet, puzzle lock, McDonald character shaped eraser and a spinning top. Although it contained the same burger, fries and drinks that were offered to the adults the only difference that it contained was the toys that it included. It included toys like star wars and minion figures. The toy keeps on changing depending on the latest movie which is being advertised and seems to be gaining popularity on a greater level. The toys given are usually children safe and are not feared to cause any harm to them. Children were considered to be the target audience for this Public Relations campaign.
The major motto of this fast food chain was to prove children to be consumers and collectors. The knowledge about children being vulnerable to Public Relations stunts is known by all. Children are usually attracted more towards these kinds of campaigns and it is an extremely smart move to target them, rather than targeting the adults who are difficult attract towards different marketing and Public Relations strategies. Targeting Children requires less spending of capital and brain. It is also cheaper and easier to attract children. Not just this but the choices and preferences of children can easily be bought. They are easy targets as they love to eat fast food rather than to eat vegetables and other edibles. Secondly, children are attracted towards toys more than food. Many children tend to buy the happy meal with the interest of collecting the toys which are included in the meal with the food. The media was very smartly and efficiently used in this Public Relations campaign by McDonald’s. They used Print Media and Electronic media tools to create awareness about the new deal they had introduced. It was introduced with television, radio-spots and in store posters in 1979 in Kansas City. The first promotion regarding the Happy Meal was the Star Trek meal in order to promote the movie Star Trek as well as the Happy Meal. They later also supported the movie Batman Returns but after receiving negative review of the parents regarding the danger their children would face, they stopped the campaign. They used Billboards, and advertisements on television featuring children and sending away good messages that the Happy Meal is a great and healthy option for children which does not only provide health to children but is also a source of entertainment for them.
In 2012, McDonald’s used its website and other social media tool to announce that it would be launching its new campaign in order to engage families concerning balanced eating and active play. Later, on March 7, advertisements on the television were aired. The result of this Public Relations campaign turned out to be extremely successful, winning and flourishing for the multinational organization. Their sales increased more than 50% earning them unlimited profits. To keep up the growing sales of Happy Meal, MacDonald’s has now introduced more than 150 interactive Happy Meals play zones in UK to attract children to be more active and attracted towards the Happy Meals. They have taken this step to avoid losing the interest of their core customers which were children. This is a well-organized strategy as retailers are bringing technologies into offline stores. Furthermore, the Happy Meal proved to be so successful that many other fast food restaurants adopted this technique like Burger King, KFC.
Apart from a lot of Public Relations campaigns that the multinational organization had run before and is running even now, this one proved to be a prominent success, so much so that this was later introduced into a number of countries around the world. A few modifications were made in it regarding the toys and the meal that is offered in the Happy Meal in other countries. It was then decided that meal and the toys would be changed according to the food rules prevailing in the countries where the Happy Meal is offered. Although it faced lawsuits and criticism regarding the toys and promotions that it was using, it still proved to be an extremely successful campaign compared to those of other fast food restaurants and other eating companies which have been failing and even if successful, they have not been able to compete with the kind of Public Relations campaigns that McDonald’s has run.
All in all, MacDonald’s amazing Public Relations strategies are just commendable and remarkable.