Ben Wise on Branding

Watching the world through the lens of the brand

Is McDonald’s Changing Their Target?

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For a long time, the McDonald’s brand had two targets: kids and their parents. In the past few years, their marketing campaigns (eg “I’m Loving It”) and menu changes (eg Salads) have shown an effort to expand the brand into other target consumers, namely everyone in between the two original groups.

Further confirming this trend, McDonald’s will be ending their long-time sponsorship deal with Sesame Street. One can argue about the hypocrisy of Sesame Street touting childhood health issues on their show while McDonald’s provides funding, but the bottom line is that it is hard to find a source aimed at children that is more trusted and respected than Sesame Street.

Dropping this sponsorship is a big deal for McDonald’s! It signals that the brand isn’t just moving toward the 18-35 demographic (ie older than kids and younger than parents), but that they are actively moving away from children. Most 25-year-old would view Sesame Street as part of their childhood, not something they associate with now. McDonald’s must view this demographic as potentially more lucrative or believe that they won’t lose kids even if they don’t target them.

This is a conscious decision to prioritize a new target segment over their old one. That said, transitioning a brand’s target segment doesn’t happen overnight. McDonald’s restaurants will still be full of children for several years, but don’t expect to see many new stores being built with a playground.

What do you think? Is dropping the Sesame Street sponsorship a good move for the McDonald’s brand?

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Written by benwisebranding

March 25, 2010 at 5:51 pm

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