Why Does McDonald’s Have Such A Hard Time Wooing Millennials?

Does McDonald’s need to try to change the world to win back its customers? Mickey D’s, still reeling from reporting its steepest monthly sales decline in 14 years, has been reaching out to ad agencies and media companies looking for advice on what kind of charitable partnership it can work up to help it connect better with its customers (specifically “millennials”), the Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources familiar with the matter.

In response to flagging sales, McDonald’s has been trying all sorts of tactics to lure customers through its doors — from asking customers to submit weird questions about their food to reminding anyone who will listen what’s in menu items like Chicken McNuggets (spoiler: chicken) to explaining how the McRib gets made (it contains pork and is frozen). But McDonald’s doesn’t want just any old customers — no, it wants those elusive millennials, with their disposable incomes and status as pop culture’s tastemakers. So far, it doesn’t seem to be working out all that great. But why not?

Is it the food? The atmosphere? The awful slogans? The company’s social media efforts? McDonald’s clearly doesn’t know the answer, so it’s reportedly looking for help to create “a Big Idea” that “generates significant support for a charity” and “engages Millennials to support this charity by speaking directly to their philanthropic priorities and leveraging their behaviors and habits,” according to RFP documents reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.

“We’re always looking for great creative ideas that will resonate with our customers and giving back to our communities is part of how we do business,” McDonald’s said.

The idea here being that if millennials are interested in helping people, and if McDonald’s can figure out the best way to play into those philanthropic leanings, maybe millennials will give the chain a collective blessing and everyone will go eat there again…? Or something?

In an effort to understand why “millennials” have abandoned the Happy Meals of their youths, we were wondering if you could help us out by taking the survey below. We’ll take a look at the results and report back in a future post.

McDonald’s Seeks Help Wooing Millennials [Wall Street Journal]