6 McLessons in Marketing

Here are 6 quick things that McDonald’s teaches us about print advertising for your education …and enjoyment, because let’s face it, sometimes it’s more fun to learn from mistakes.

1) Sex Doesn’t Always Sell

This ad fell right on its face after the double cheeseburger got hit on by the cheap creepy dude, proving that the old phrase “Sex Sells” does not apply to everything. It’s great to push the envelope on marketing efforts, but sometimes it’s better not to cross the line. At least it got some attention, good or bad.


2) Reality Counts

McDonald’s customers took note when the burger they were promised in their marketing ads came up short in comparison, reminding us that honesty is still the best policy when it comes to what we’re telling people about our product. That obviously goes for pictures too.


3) Placement is Important

This little bit of simple marketing is proof positive that even the best marketing campaigns can fail when they aren’t delivered in the right way. Just another reason why targeted marketing is always going to be better than the spray and pray method of mass marketing.


4) Social Media Services Can Spark Unexpected Conversations

In today’s social media charged world, most can benefit from engaging followers on social media platforms; however, here again, McDonald’s teaches us to be careful what you wish for. This seemingly innocent campaign they launched to engage their audience in sharing their favorite McStories backfired quickly when customers began using it as a platform to air their complaints. Perhaps #McDisaster might have been more appropriate?

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5) Concept Execution is Key

How could selling bags of ice possibly go wrong? McDonald’s proved that Murphy’s Law does exist with this one – although Murphy probably got fired after not proofing this concept before it went to print and became scorchingly viral. Incorporating logos and pictures into print marketing is a fun way to play off your customers’ visual senses, just make sure that you begin with the end in mind of what that campaign or piece will look like when on display for the world to see. Good price on mice though from what I understand.


6) Never Stop Trying

They currently spend millions of dollars on marketing every year, utilizing just about every media known to man. But even through all the marketing fails, when you consider that McDonald’s opened its doors 1955 and have been going strong ever since, there certainly must be something in that secret marketing sauce.


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