Target audience saturation

The aim of this assignment is to take a look at the hugely successful media campaign launched by McDonalds in the UK in 1974. We will be considering the techniques employed by ‘maccy dees’ We will be studying the use of language, illustrations and graphics. We will also be taking a look at the demographic profiling. Many of McDonald’s successful advertisements are aimed at children for one reason. Pester Power- by targeting children in their media campaigns, McDonalds are able to “get children on their side.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

” The kids nag until they get what they want, in this case, a McDonalds. When McDonalds first commenced their media campaign it was the brightly coloured happy figure of Ronald McDonald, this was done in cartoon form and showed Ronald successfully combating his enemies, ‘the hamburglers’. This in effect was saying that only McDonalds are the real thing and so putting down other burger establishments such as Wimpy. The adverts were shown in the breaks between children’s television programmes, thus ensuring target audience saturation.

The wording used in the adverts is carefully orchestrated and always very emotive, the McDonalds logo of ‘I’m lovin’ it’, children don’t just get a meal in a box, they get a ‘happy meal’ therefore implying that McDonalds is a fun place to be, Interesting to note is that Ronald McDonald is obviously an adult male. Young children especially trust adults and would therefore trust every word this grown up clown is saying, therefore also making McDonalds a safe place to be.

To further enhance the words of love, happy, fun and safe, special occasion parties were also advertised with Ronald McDonald himself leading the way with the party games. The ‘happy meal itself is in a brightly coloured box with lots of primary colours, studies show that pre-school children find these colours more appealing and stimulating, you only have to look at pre school toys from well known brands such as Fisher Price and Tomy to prove this.

The boxes themselves have games and quizzes, aimed at placating the youngsters and their parents who find that the attentions of young children are caught for a short time, and so making meal time more pleasurable for all concerned. In each happy meal there is a toy to collect; usually in a series and for a long time they were linked to big name film releases from Disney, again a well known, much loved, and trusted by parents and infants brand.

These toys jointly promoted not only the film but ensured that children wanted to collect next week’s toy. Examples of this are Disney PIXAR’S ‘Monsters Inc’, ‘Happy Feet’, ‘Over the Hedge’, the list is endless. . The above is one example of the many successful, well researched pro-active media campaigns ran by McDonalds and as such has secured a vast amount of business not only for now but for the future as youngsters who have grown up with McDonalds will see it as a way of life and a way of treating their children too.

With the growing concern in the media and by government on issues such as childhood obesity, lots of studies and research have been undertaken to look at the effect of pester power advertising and to gauge just how powerful it can be. The results are quite alarming. An experiment was taken by children of about five years old to gauge the power of advertising. The experiment showed that children find food up to six times more appetising in McDonalds packaging than identical meals in plain wrappers.

The study, revealed that boys and girls found food tastier when they thought it was made by a big brand, even such food as carrots and milk! This shows how much of an impact advertisements are influencing Britain’s youth. Although the above has demonstrated the proactive marketing campaign to pre-school children by McDonalds it is also worth taking a look at the reactive side which again is very well thought out, quick to defend and always aims to gain trust back and win confidence but this time to an adult audience.

We will look at three areas of concern and three matching campaigns that demonstrate this:-The alleged obesity epidemic, the concern over GM foods /additives and environmental issues. Childhood obesity and overall obesity is growing at an alarming rate, in America it is the next big killer next to smoking related deaths. The UK is catching up. There has been media publicity and documentaries over the last 5 years but up to 2007 no one brand or firm took the brunt of the blame. In 2004 A documentary was made by Morgan Spurlock which was called ‘supersize me’.

This was an experiment to see just how much weight would be gained and how detrimental to his health it would be if the reporter ate only McDonalds for a period of one month or 31 days. In 2007 two American women went to the high court and launched an unsuccessful lawsuit against McDonalds claiming that it was their fault they were obese. Obviously the media were quick to report this and as such lots of debates followed, some making fun and some taking it seriously. What this did is to catapult the growing concern of obesity, childhood obesity included into the headlines.

The instantaneous response from McDonalds was a change in their offering with the Happy meal with which they released adverts regarding fruit bags and milk and extolling the virtues of five fruit and veg a day and how good calcium is. With the adult population they marketed the mcsalad as a healthy alternative to the burger and fries. They also went as far as to advertise the fact that they were changing the food wrappings to help weight control by adding calorific values along with saturated fat content for all to see and read.

This, in a round about way was saying that people had a choice to eat healthy but they could still eat healthy at McDonalds. As such, the media campaign against them seemed to die down. It would be interesting to see if McDonald’s revenue went down during this period and how quickly it recovered after several weeks of the campaign. In 2005/ 2006 there was concern in the media regarding the introduction of genetically modified foods which also included additives and preservatives.

The general consensus was that people should be aware of what they are eating and where it came from. No one brand was pinpointed but again McDonalds was one of the first companies to react to the media claims and the increasing public concern by showing adverts that depicted well known brands that we all use and recognise, for example Philadelphia, Heinz ketchups, Nescafe coffee, they informed us that they don’t use anything that we wouldn’t use ourselves in our kitchens, it was also backed up by stating that McDonalds would never use GM foods in their food production.

Another well known campaign was based around the ‘mcchicken nuggets’ where they advertised the fact that they contained 100% breast meat and not the sweepings off the floor which was insinuated in the above documentary. The spotlight was never on McDonalds as a main culprit in the genetically modified food supply or unnecessary additives, however they ensured that they never would be by this campaign and by doing so they secured confidence in the adult population.

Over the last 10 years, there has been and still is, huge publicity regarding the environmental impact of mass production in two main areas, sustainability of natural resources, such as the rainforests and cruelty to animals, battery hens.

McDonalds have released campaigns which seem to support environmental issues, they advertise the fact that materials used in wrappers are recyclable, that they support worldwide beef farmers in replanting, (this followed claims that McDonalds with the huge demand for their products were encouraging farmers in 3rd world countries to destroy natural rainforests to make way for more cattle grazing land to meet demands) They also mention in their adult advertising that they only use eggs from free range hens.

Interesting to point out is that by using eggs from free range hens, people would naturally assume that they are also using organic chicken although this has never been stated and probably is not the case but it would be a natural assumption based on the advertising campaign. This reactive marketing has been successful in removing the reasons people shouldn’t go to McDonalds. Marketing the product successfully to the right audience probably accounts for three quarters of McDonald’s takeover of the fast food market.

Their food would not be as popular if it wasn’t so accessible. In the UK alone there are over 1,250 restaurants which doesn’t sound a lot seeing as the UK is over 94,000 square miles and should equate to one McDonalds every 76 miles however the saturation of McDonalds in major cities and towns in areas such as town centres, business parks, entertainment parks, shopping areas and even motorway services is high.

In Leeds, West Yorkshire there are 14 restaurants, in Manchester there are 23 and in London City there are 91. Figures supplied by Yell. com It’s also fair to say that the numbers of McDonald’s restaurants are growing also with the introduction of more entertainment parks, shopping areas and business parks. On the McDonalds website they are advertising they have opened a restaurant in a bowling alley and have more plans to open outlets in supermarkets.

They cover every possible market place from business people with the convenience of the ‘drive thru’ so people can eat in their car without having to stop any length of time for lunch. With the teenage market that frequent entertainment parks for the cinemas and other attractions, they market their food at incredibly low prices with poundsaver menus which makes it affordable for pocket money, as if this wasn’t attractive enough for teenagers and business people alike, they advertise free wireless connection to the internet.

Families with young children who enjoy the facilities of shopping areas or large supermarkets, such as the convenient free parking and everything under one roof or in one area, to them McDonalds can be a way of treating the youngsters for good behaviour, again the prices are kept low enough for everyone’s budget, a happy meal costs as little as i?? 1. 99 so parents wouldn’t think twice about buying them.

Obviously food shopping is a necessity and cannot be undertaken usually without taking pre-school children with them and the well known big yellow arches are visible from miles away. With the high saturation of McDonalds in tourist areas such as London, they are aiming at the tourists themselves who feel comfortable eating something they know or ordering something they understand. It’s the equivalent to a universal language.