A Campaign for A Healthy Mcdonald’s                                                                       

 

Abstract

McDonald’s, a global fast-food company, has risen to become one of the biggest success stories by achieving the title of the largest restaurant chain in the world, especially if the success is measured regarding its revenue (Forbes, 2018). According to Statistica (2017), McDonald’s net income was placed at 4.686 billion US dollars in the year 2016 alone and is a clear indication of its significant success. Despite all this apparent success, the fast food company has however not been without heavy criticism from various welfare organisations, the media outlets, and the public in general. The management behind McDonald’s has been accused of consisting of capitalists who only care about increasing profits while neglecting their customers’ health (Orion, 2017). The nutritional value of the meals offered at the restaurant outlets continues to be questioned with evidence that it can lead to serious and chronic negative effects on health. This paper is aimed at creating a campaign that alters the perception of the general public and the media towards the McDonald’s outlet. The objective is to convince these parties that indeed McDonald’s can offer its customers healthy options. This campaign’s success, therefore, relies upon the introduction of a healthier menu for McDonald’s. The paper also analyses the current situation in McDonald’s and offers an advertising strategy.

Introduction

The origins of the McDonald’s can be traced back to the 1950’s when Ray Kroc came across a small restaurant run by the McDonalds brothers. Although small, the efficiency and effectiveness of the operation were reflected by the success of the restaurant. These attributes are what attracted Ray Kroc to invest in the restaurant and later on purchase it from the McDonald brothers. The Menu at that time was limited to just a few items such as hamburgers and fries. Such limited items ensured high quality and quick service. Ray Kroc would go on to buy the exclusive rights to the McDonalds some years later on. He became the founder of the McDonald’s system Inc. which is a predecessor of the McDonald’s corporation  He applied a unique philosophy that would go a long way to ensure that the McDonalds remained relevant in the fast food industry through the decades up to the present (McDonald’s, 2018).

Ray Kroc’s philosophy for the McDonald’s emphasised on core values including quality, value, service and cleanliness. When it came to quality, he insisted on high quality and methods of preparation that would be uniform across all the McDonalds outlets. He built the foundation on three key pillars including the McDonalds franchisees, suppliers, and the employees. As he stated, the strength of the establishment heavily relied upon these three key pillars. These values would, later on, be placed under public scrutiny as the nutritional value of the McDonald’s food was put into question (McDonald’s, 2018).

 

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Analysis of the Current Situation

Complaints against McDonald’s

Calories Intake

In the contemporary society, obesity has become a grave issue. This occurs when one exceeds a Basal Metabolic index (BMI) of 30 and above. The World Health Organization (WHO) published data in 2007 that indicated the prevalence of obesity in the UK at 27.8%. The figure is even higher in the United States.  According to statistics by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over a third of US adult citizens are obese (Ogden, Carroll, Kit & Flegal, 2015). Ogden et al., (2015: 1) reported that between 2011 and 2014, the prevalence of obesity among the Adults in the US population was 36.5%. This high rate of obesity has led to higher scrutiny of the food that the population consumes. Indeed, several factors may lead to obesity such as genetics. However, as WHO reports, lifestyle factors play a huge role in obesity including the dietary habits. The high preference for fast foods among people has been found to be directly linked to the high levels of obesity. Obesity is also related to adverse health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, gout, breathing problems, osteoarthritis, and even certain types of cancers (van Draanen, Prelip, and Upchurch, 2017). The connection between the fast foods and obesity explains the negative perception of the public towards the McDonald’s given that it is a global fast-food company. This perception has been fueled by the media in its efforts to inform the general public.

GMO Issue

The other major complaint revolves around the controversial issue of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Although a consensus has been arrived at by scientists that GMO food is safe to eat, the general public feels that this is not the case, heavily backed by activists and various media outlets. McDonald’s fast food delicacies such as fries have been found to be prepared from potatoes that are genetically modified (Pinkham, 2014). GMOs are a great attraction for the McDonald’s as they allow for the restaurant outlets to offer food at low prices. This is owing to the fact raw materials can be sourced cheaply given that GMOs are produced at a lower cost due to reduced cost of expenses such as pesticides. It is important to note that McDonald’s continuously denies any use of GM foods according to Pinkham (2014). However, the general public perception out there is that this is just a cover-up to ensure that the company does not lose its loyal customers. As much as some people would like to ignore GMOs as just baseless media propaganda, this is not the case especially when one considers one of the organisms that are at the centre of the controversy. This organism is a bacterium known as Escherichia coli (E. coli). During the genetic modification process, E. coli is utilised in the cloning of the genetically modified or transgenic Di-ribonucleic acid (DNA) before it is then inserted into the plant cells which then grow to yield the genetically modified foods (Rychen et al., 2017). It is correct to say that most E. coli strains indeed exists in the gut and that they are beneficial and harmless given that they produce vitamin K2 and prevent the establishment of pathogenic bacteria within the intestines (Hatahet et al., 2015). However, certain strains such as the serotype O157: H7 have been found to cause serious food poisoning. There is also a growing concern that a mutated form of E. coli resulting from the cloning process during genetic engineering could end up getting into the gut of a person who eats the modified food (Hennekinne, Herbin, Firmesse, and Auvray, 2015).

Cases have been reported of people getting food poisoning after eating from the McDonalds resulting in significant lawsuits. The Korea Biomedical review reported that a McDonald’s had been sued by an engraved mother whose four-year-old daughter had caught hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) or the Hamburger disease after eating a burger with an undercooked patty (Williams, 2017). This syndrome was found to have resulted from an infection by a harmful strain of E. coli, resulting in HUS which is a condition that is characterised by the abnormal destruction of the red blood cells. This destruction can consequently lead to the clogging of the filtering system of the kidney. It may result in Kidney failure (Mele, Remuzzi, and Noris, 2014). Although a good case, McDonald’s denied such claims and maintained that it was impossible for such an occurrence of infection. The basis of this argument was that the food is mass produced hence cooked by machines, which eliminates such human error. Whether guilty or not, the general public continues to be concerned about the GMO issue and its link to the McDonalds.

Mass production

Mass production is an essential process in McDonald’s, which is also a source of the negative public perception. The consistency that is mostly a characteristic of the McDonalds is the very factor that calls for the implementation of mass production. As mentioned earlier, McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, had a view of preparing high-quality fast foods which would have a consistent method of preparation (McDonald’s, 2018). It is one of the factors that continues to set the global fast food company apart and also ensures it is highly successful. This uniform method of preparation calls for centralisation in production. The food is, therefore, mass-produced in a given factory, from where it is then kept refrigerated at freezing temperatures. This process is facilitated by technology such as large walk in-freezers. Upon an order by a customer, the cook just reheats it and serves instead of preparing it afresh (Csallany, 2015). Although mass production largely contributes to the success of McDonald’s, it is also a source of considerable controversy as evidence-based research continues to show that mass production interferes with the nutritional values of the food. The shortcomings of mass-production have been investigated at large with several negative results. One of the disadvantages of mass-production raising public fears is that contamination can readily occur throughout a whole batch of foods. Just a single infected animal may spread its bacteria or even viruses to all food in the mixing process (Moore, 2008). There is also a lot of concern about the preservatives and the artificial flavours that are used in McDonald’s food to ensure that it has a uniform taste.

 

High Employee Turnover at the McDonald’s

McDonald’s has been faced with a high employee turnover that raises significant concerns. Although the global company ranks at the top regarding its revenues, it is a whole different story when the employee turnover is considered. Surveys in the UK have shown that McDonald’s is not one of the best places to work at (Burn-Callander, 2015). The reason for this is mainly due to the low salaries. The benefits and compensation are also some of the worst. This information is at least according to a survey conducted by the Jobs website Glassdoor in which anonymous McDonald’s’ employees and former employees participated. As much as the management would like to ignore this negative perception of McDonald’s, it would not be a wise idea given the adverse effects of high employee turnover on any given business. Some of these negative effects include the fact that low wages and salaries tamper with employee loyalty towards business as well as the motivation to work hard to achieve the company’s goals and objectives (Markovich, n.d). The outcome of low motivation is poor customer service. In such a restaurant where customer satisfaction is key to the success of the business, then it can impact a major blow to McDonald’s’ revenue. It is also important to mention that the cost of training new staff every time is costly and interferes with the efficiency of the business. Various McDonald’s outlets across the globe have expressed their desire to improve upon this image, but it still leaves a lot to be done.

 

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The Proposed Advertising Objectives

The primary objective of this campaign is to change the negative perception that a considerable number of the general public has towards the McDonald’s. The campaign, therefore, aims to raise public awareness about the McDonald’s as a restaurant that can have healthy options for their customers, thus, increasing McDonald’s sales. This objective is to be achieved by producing new meals in McDonald’s under a healthy menu. This move is, in turn, will attract more customers, therefore, fulfilling the objective of increasing the sales.

Advertising Strategy

Target Audience

McDonald’s is a global food company where the setting allows for families to enjoy the food offered there. The target audience for this campaign is, therefore, the general public in the UK. Although given the challenges faced by generalising the target population, the campaign takes a significant interest in the families and workers as the target population. This tactic is to increase the rate of success of the campaign by narrowing the mission and allow for better planning. Even as the campaign seeks to improve the number of customers at McDonald’s, the loyal customers cannot be forgotten and are therefore at the heart of this campaign. It will ensure that their loyalty remains as it is and that they keep referring and recommending the McDonalds to their friends.

Product/Brand Positioning Statement

For families, workers and anyone with an appetite, McDonald’s is the fast food restaurant that delivers the most healthy and delicious option. Unlike other fast food outlets, McDonald’s caters for both your appetite and your health.

 

Message strategy

Considering the present state of McDonald’s and its market position at the moment, then the best message strategy to apply is the Positioning message strategy. It is preferable as it builds upon the already set image by McDonald’s. The restaurant has already established itself as the best fast food outlet which only makes the advertising less complicated. The message is, therefore, built upon the point that it is the healthiest option among all the fast food outlets.

Media Strategy

The geographical coverage required is the whole of UK demographic. It is the case considering that the message aims to appeal to the general population including the parents, children, workers. The advertising, therefore, requires the utilisation of a combination of media outlets including televisions, radio stations, newspapers, billboards and even the social media. Since food is eaten on a daily basis, timing does not factor in the media strategy, and there is no seasonal variation. However, the campaign has been designed with full awareness of the adverse effects that a year-long ad poses to the campaign’s budget. It calls for a detailed and careful budget plan. When it comes to a question of the two media approaches, namely: media concentration and media dispersion approach, then media dispersion approach is the way to go. This is in recognition of the extensive coverage of the McDonald’s outlet whereby limiting the number of categories of media may hinder the desired objective of the campaign.

 

Budget and Costed Media Plan

The establishment of the budget for this campaign uses a different approach from the common methods applied in various businesses. It is because unlike this campaign, businesses usually have a pre-set sales budget from which the advertising budget is derived as a percentage. This campaign has built its budget and media plan as a total of all the expenses required for successful advertising and achievement of the set goals with no other limits whatsoever except for the logical ones. The budget addresses the paid advertising on the media, the marketing collateral, as well as the technological costs in the case of the social media. In the case of the UK, this campaign plans to utilise the leading tv stations including BBC 1, Channel 4, ITV, and BBC 2. The leading radio stations to be considered include BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 1, and Heart. Media advertising will also involve newspapers including the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Daily Express, the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, The Sun, BBC News, and the Independent.

 

The Cost advertising in the media……………. 10,000 pounds on a daily basis

The Marketing Collateral…………………………3000 pounds

Technological Costs………………………….. 50,000 pounds on a monthly basis

 

Creative Content

This campaign utilises creativity whereby the brilliant idea is to introduce healthy meals to the McDonald’s. The world healthy is well understood by the majority of the target population as having to do with the calories consumed and the level of fat and carbohydrates in the diet. The determination of the number of calories that one should take on a daily basis has been well established by various nutritional bodies. As highlighted earlier, the public also has an issue with the process of mass production and use of foods prepared from GMOs. In line with the positioning message, the content is created to establish and emphasise that McDonald’s outlets offer the healthiest option. The advantages of mass production also have to be noted in the message. Also, the message that McDonald’s does not use GMOs will be delivered across all media to drive the point home.

The Present McDonalds Menu

At present, the McDonalds menu is divided into various sections including Breakfast, Chicken and sandwiches, burgers, salads, snacks and sides. It also includes desserts and shakes, McCafe, drinks, and sauces. Although the global fast Food Company strives to remain relevant with changing times, the original items on the menu remain popular among its customers up to date. These are the burgers and fries. The most popular items on the menu include the French fries, the big mac, the happy meal, snack wrap, egg McMuffin, the chicken McNuggets, apple pie, premium salads, and the double cheeseburger.

The Proposed healthy McDonalds menu

The campaign introduces new meals for the McDonald’s menu including:

  • Almond Milk
  • Coconut Milk
  • Vegetarian Burger
  • Baked Potato Wedges
  • Whole Wheat buns
  • Mashed potatoes

 

Conclusion

This is an elaborate campaign that has been designed with the aim of promoting a healthy McDonald’s. It has been well structured and supported by theoretical concepts that will make anyone understand it thoroughly. The current situation on the ground has been well analysed and addressed including the various sources of the negative public and media perception towards the McDonalds. The government desires for the campaign have been put into high consideration while creating the campaign, including the desire to: incorporate new ideas and approaches, introduce fresh and innovative advertising ideas, and a proposal for a potential budget requirement for the campaign. There is also an elaborate advertising strategy designed for the effectiveness of the campaign. This campaign hopes to efficiently change the public perception of the McDonald’s from a negative one to one where the McDonald’s is viewed as the healthiest option for fast foods.

References

Burn-Callander, R. (2015). Employees send McDonald’s to bottom of top 10 ranking of fast food chains. Accessed 2018/2/10 from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/11786866/Its-official-Flipping-burgers-at-McDonalds-is-the-worst-fast-food-job-in-the-UK.html

Csallany, A. S., Han, I., Shoeman, D. W., Chen, C., & Yuan, J. (2015). 4-Hydroxynonenal (HNE), a toxic aldehyde in French fries from fast food restaurants. Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society92(10), 1413-1419.

Forbes (2018). Top 10 Global Fast-Food Chains. Forbes. Retrieved 2018/2/13 from: https://www.forbes.com/pictures/feji45hfkh/1-mcdonalds-3/#52ab3ef15a7b

Hatahet, F., Blazyk, J. L., Martineau, E., Mandela, E., Zhao, Y., Campbell, R. E., … & Boyd, D. (2015). Altered Escherichia coli membrane protein assembly machinery allows proper membrane assembly of eukaryotic protein vitamin K epoxide reductase. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences112(49), 15184-15189.

Hennekinne, J. A., Herbin, S., Firmesse, O., & Auvray, F. (2015). European food poisoning outbreaks involving meat and meat-based products. Procedia Food Science5, 93-96.

Markovich, M. (n.d). The Negative Impacts of a High Turnover Rate. Chron. Accessed on 2018/2/5 from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/negative-impacts-high-turnover-rate-20269.html

McDonalds, (2018). Our History. McDonald’s. Retrieved 2018/2/1 from https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/about-us/our-history.html

Mele, C., Remuzzi, G., & Noris, M. (2014, July). Hemolytic uremic syndrome. In Seminars in immunopathology (Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 399-420). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Moore, J. (2008). Mass-produced food has benefits, risks. Billings Gazette. Retrieved 2018/2/11 from http://billingsgazette.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/mass-produced-food-has-benefits-risks/article_72018ed4-88bd-5108-a9fa-2d19ce5314eb.html

Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., Kit, B. K., & Flegal, K. M. (2015). Prevalence of obesity among adults: United States 2011-2014. NCHS data brief2015(219), 1-8.

Orion, J. (2017). McDonald’s: An International Barometer of Capitalism. Big Think. Retrieved 2018/2/10 from http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/mcdonalds-an-international-barometer-of-capitalism

Pinkham, C.A. (2014). McDonald’s Isn’t Willing to Buy GMO Potatoes, Isn’t Fooling Anyone. Kitchenette. Retrieved 2018/2/3. From https://kitchenette.jezebel.com/mcdonalds-isnt-willing-to-buy-gmo-potatoes-1659380487

Rychen, G., Aquilina, G., Azimonti, G., Bampidis, V., Bastos, M. D. L., Bories, G., … & Kouba, M. (2017). Safety of l‐tryptophan technically pure, produced by Escherichia coli

Statistica, (2017). Income of McDonald’s Corporation worldwide from 2005 to 2016 (in billion U.S. dollars). Retrieved 2018/2/11 from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/219420/net-income-of-the-mcdonalds-corporation/

van Draanen, J., Prelip, M., & Upchurch, D. M. (2017). Consumption of fast food, sugar-sweetened beverages, artificially-sweetened beverages and allostatic load among young adults. Preventive Medicine Reports. CGMCC 3667, for all animal species based on a dossier submitted by GBT Europe GmbH. EFSA Journal15(3).

Williams, C. (2017). Mother sues McDonald’s for causing her girl’s ‘Hamburger disease’. Korea Biomedical Review. Retrieved 2018/2/9 from http://www.koreabiomed.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=828

 

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