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Branding, Localization and Gelato

Filed under Advertising, Branding, Promotion

It’s easy to over-analyze McDonald’s marketing skills because the chain does so much marketing, but it is just as easy to overlook some small efforts that show its finesse. An example: In many markets around the world, McDonald’s is promoting Olympics-themed Coke glasses. Coke-glass promotions are a long-standing tradition with McDonald’s and the offer does well wherever run.

But in Italy, McDonald’s is doing something different, something Italian. With purchase of a menu item and a McFlurry, customers receive a free porcelain gelato/ice cream bowl designed exclusively for the promotion by housewares marketer Seletti. The chain did something similar last year in France, giving out brightly colored McCafé porcelain coffee cups from Revol. The Italian promo is supported with a TV spot from TBWA featuring an “Ice Cream Song” song that’s a take on the old “I scream, you scream” idea.

This kind of marketing helps makes the McDonald’s brand relevant to French and Italian customers, respectively. It’s like sponsoring local Little League teams, as many burger joints do. Localization, too, is a promotional strategy that works well wherever run.


The character Wendy’s execs call “Red” but whom fans have come to know is actress Morgan Smith Goodwin (at r.) has a new TV spot promoting the chain’s Baconator and flanker brand Son of Baconator. The smaller burger is two 2.25 beef patties compared to the Baconator’s two 4-oz. patties and the number of bacon strips dips to four from six. The “Now that’s better” tagline continues.

Wendy’s just can’t stop itself from adding new premium cheeseburgers (not that that’s a bad thing). Son of Baconator is the third joining the menu in the past year, following the Dave’s Hot ’n Juicy and W cheeseburgers.