Friday, February 22, 2013

Dear McDonald's. Thanks For Keeping Me Young.

Dear McDonald's,

My son had his 15 month shots today and as a reward for both surviving, we went to McDonald's for lunch. This was my first visit as a mom and I felt so damn cool watching my son in the toddler playland. Finally I fall distinctly into one of your target audiences!

Many years ago I migrated out of your dollar menu target and have felt odd running in ever since for a salad or milkshake as I was too old to be your "Value Fox" and too childless to be your "Mom." Thanks for welcoming me over to the playful side and making me feel like I belong again.

This sense of belonging, however, is not what today's letter is about.

For weeks I've seen your Fish McBites spot running and thought, "Disgusting," despite being a huge Filet-O-Fish fan and finding the "fishy, fishy" jingle a bit catchy. Something about bite-sized fish chunks produced en masse turns me off.

Today, though, when your friendly lobby worker asked if I would like to sample some McBites I had to say yes. A former fast food marketer, I am always interested in new products and was pleasantly surprised with my McBites. They tasted like comfort, not gross fish.

However, it is not the quality that most amazed me.

After trying them, I looked around and noticed a fish net, fish dangling from the ceiling, and merchandising depicting all the different ways to order fish bites. When we sat down I saw the fish message on my cup and on my little boy's Happy Meal box.


Your in-store campaign for what I'm assuming is a limited time offer that will run only during Lent, is a phenomenal marketing feat. I imagine the Fish category just grew threefold and next year, all your competitors will be launching similar products the same way they tried to launch iced tea after you added it to your $1 menu.

However, it wasn't even your fully Integrated Marketing Campaign that most amazed me, either.

What surprised me most, is that no matter how old I get, McDonald's will always rock. I've played on the playland, eaten off the $1 menu, bought the salads and McFlurry's, analyzed the marketing from within the category, and watched the McD circle of life come full circle in my little boy.

Forever Young, right guys? Thanks for helping me realize that the best brand identities are actually quite true.



  1. You can totally tell this post was written by someone who has a marketing passion.

    But - - - I totally agree.

    1. I'm now craving a milkshake. I may become a McD Heavy User after today's visit.

  2. LOL, this totally makes me want to go to McDs after Stella's 15 month shots.
    And ya, it's a pretty powerful marketing muscle they have going on there!

    1. Do it! It was like going to, well...a playland. He loved it. And the trauma of the shots made me feel like I deserved the fries.

  3. The fish bites are good. LM liked them and the shamrock shakes. This entry was cool to read from a marketing view.

    1. I surprised myself after I wrote it and reread it. What they do and how the fit into your life is kind of amazing.

  4. Those McDonald's people are marketing experts. They successfully inundated the kiddie tv channels and even had my kids asking to go to McDonald's for McFish bites. I was all confused when it wasn't one of the choices to come with the Happy Meals, too!

  5. I am not a fan of Mickey D's after I had a mcgriddle left in my car for over 2 months and it looked the same just hard as a rock. I do however love their tea but I am skeptical about their foods these days. I have heard mixed reviews about the fish though. Loved the way you worded this article too you make someone want to try it out. Stopping over from sitsharefest