I nearly fell over laughing last night. My wife and i stared at each other in disbelief, not sure we saw what we just did. It was a TV commercial that left us stunned at how bad it made us feel about the advertiser.
A bunch of office workers "draw straws" using pencils. One unlucky guy gets the short pencil and looks horrified. His coworkers watch out the window and he timidly enters a McDonald's across the street. When he emerges he has a cup in his hand which he triumphantly raises towards the sky. The announcer comes on and says, "Finally, McDonald's has good coffee."
Now my wife and I are a focus-group of 2, and maybe millions of people will flock to McDonald's to try their new coffee. However, The first thing I thought of was, "yes, we're very sorry for pouring molten-hot crap down your gullet and onto your lap for the past 50 years, now we actually have actually infused some quality into our product."
For the love of all things great and small, what is their ad agency thinking?
McDonald's has been a media target ever since the lawsuit over burning a customer with coffee and the movie Super-size Me. It would not have been my choice to call attention to the lack of quality of their food, and their coffee in the same ad. If you read my post yesterday - you know that the human brain is an association machine. When I saw this ad, I instantly associated it with the hot coffee lawsuit and Super-size Me.
Sometimes being self-deprecating is OK - but you must be careful with it. In the 60s Avis adopted the slogan - "We're #2 So We Try Harder". It has since been shortened to "We Try harder." This worked very well for them, in part because they made it part of their corporate mission. It also made customers believe they were getting the best service, because Avis couldn't rest on its laurels.
I argue that every message you put out there, everything you do that customers experience, must be very intentional. You must pay very close attention to the messages you are sending. I am reminded of the Chevy Nova which didn't sell in Spanish speaking countries because "no va" means "no go."
Look at you marketing communications and think about the logical and emotional leaps your customers might make. Only time will tell if the McDonald's coffee advertising pays off, but it didn't make me confident in them.
J D Moore - Marketing Comet