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Leo Burnett

Core disciplines: Advertising/Creative, Creative production, Digital, Integrated marketing

One of the Top 30 most viewed agencies for 2016

Overturning entrenched urban myths for McDonald's and tackling 'fake news' in the post-truth era. 


In 2014, in the post-truth era defined by fake news and ‘alternative facts’, McDonald’s found themselves facing yet another storm of distrust fueled by myths and misinformation about which parts of the animal they use, how they process it, and everything else in between. Alarmingly, studies into rumours circulating online found that engagement around the ‘fake news’ content far exceeded engagement with articles debunking the same claims. This was compounded by the rise of independent, ‘authentic’ competitors.


How were we supposed to tackle the ‘fake news’ culture?

We developed a long term campaign strategy and three stage plan of attack to neutralize the myths and misinformation by: discrediting the ‘fake news’ culture; divulging the reality; and detailing the proof points across all touch-points on the consumer journey.

Firstly, we created a whimsical, tongue-in-cheek world that had the ability to playfully bust myths. This allowed us to state the facts about our key ingredients whilst gently poking fun at the myths and the people who believed them. We communicated this via rich content TV spots in order to tackle the food concerns for as many consumers as possible.  

The next challenge was landing our messages with the cynics, which required them to come from an independent voice, not McDonald’s. So, to support our broadcast communications, we took the unprecedented step of ceding control of our messaging to unaffiliated vloggers. We allowed selected YouTube personalities – who had shown a favourable opinion of the brand through previous videos – access to our farms, factories, and restaurant kitchens to find out for themselves how we make and prepare our food. Posting on their channels and letting them stamp their own styles over the content would prove to give the messages even greater credibility and believability. To underpin all of this, in-restaurant communications focused on the reassuring truth behind our ingredients, reinforcing customers’ decision to eat with us.

 


Across all channels, tone was important for the success of our communications. We needed to be conversational but not preachy, confident but not dismissive, and reassuring but not patronising.

Quite simply, the truth was Good To Know.

Since 2014 there have been 5 distinct iterations of the campaign, across all touchpoints. And the campaign is set to continue as it is driving real business results.  Since the Good To Know campaign started, food quality perceptions have increased to their highest ever levels, an increase of 31% since just before the campaign launched. Trust scores have also gone through the roof whilst distrust scores have plummeted. All of this has added up to an ROI of £5.50 demonstrating the success of this consistent and direct approach to building consumer trust back in the brand.

 

 

Leo Burnett

 

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