McDonald’s “Pay With Lovin'” Campaign Doesn’t Result In Any Actual Love For Company

mcdspaylovinNearly four months ago, when we first got hints that McDonald’s was going to be making a Super Bowl-centered campaign about how “lovin’ is better than hatin'” and other folksiness, we predicted it wouldn’t exactly be well received by consumers. And when it finally rolled out the “Pay with lovin'” campaign, our opinion didn’t really change. Now that this brief, G-droppin’ period has passed, it doesn’t look like people have anymore love for McDonald’s than they did a few months ago.

The folks at YouGov BrandIndex have been tracking consumers’ attitudes toward the fast food giant during this campaign — which was supposed to improve McDonald’s public image by occasionally allowing random customers to pay with hugs and other nonsense — and the results were probably what you expect.

On the plus side, there were small increases in the number of people talking about McDonald’s (from 26% to 29%) and those considering getting their next fast food meal from the eatery (from 36% to 39%). But the former may simply be attributed to the nearly omnipresent ads while at least some of the increased interest in buying McDonald’s had to be from people hoping to score a free meal as part of the promotion.

But these upticks don’t mean much unless McDonald’s can shift its public image in the long run, and its BrandIndex scores aren’t a good omen.

The Index’s Buzz score ranges from -100 to 100, with a 0 score being neutral. And in the two weeks following the Super Bowl, McDonald’s score varied between -1 and 3, indicating no real change in consumers’ attitudes, in spite of the massive marketing campaign and one of the most talked-about Super Bowl ads.

Of course, this whole campaign was already in place when McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson stepped down only days before the Super Bowl. So the company may be looking at the ineffectiveness of all the huggin’ and lovin’ as a relic of the former leadership.


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