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McDonald’s Pitches ‘Madagascar 2’; Replaces ‘I’m Lovin’ it’ Packaging

Brian Quinton
October 30, 2008

McDonald’s plans to launch a major campaign around the upcoming premiere of the DreamWorks animated movie “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.”

The company, which announced the initiative yesterday, will use advertising, in-store events, Happy Meals and the new McWorld virtual world to encourage kids to take “One Minute to Move It.” It will also replace the packaging designs that went along with the “I’m Lovin’ It” tagline

The Madagascar promo will be one of the largest global Happy Meal events for the foodservice company since its “Shrek 3” promotion in 2007.

The campaign will break in the U.S. the U.K. and Ireland by the end of the month, in anticipation of “Madagascar 2”’s Nov. 7 launch in the U.S. It will then roll out worldwide in a timetable linked to the movie’s opening in those regions, reaching the last areas by March 2009.

TV spots, store signs and online content at both McWorld and online will encourage kids to take a minute and engage in some 60-second activity—mental, physical or otherwise—that gives them pleasure, anything from jumping rope to drawing pictures or dancing. The campaign is keyed to the song “Move It,” made popular in the first “Madagascar,” released in 2005.

At the Web site and in the McWorld virtual world, kids will find online games and puzzles related to the “One Minute to Move It” challenge, along with suggested offline activities. They will also be able to list the things they have found to do in one minute and can track the wide range of activities other children around the world have chosen to meet the challenge.

As part of that rolling promotion, 100 McDonald’s stores around the world will hold live in-store events encouraging kids to take a minute to do some activity for their own fulfillment.

Dr. Paul Gately, Carnegie professor of exercise and obesity at Leeds University, U.K. and a member of McDonald’s global advisory council, said the campaign to motivate child wellbeing grew out of a global study of children in six countries on four continents.

“Children enjoy giving, and want to be adventurous, creative and responsible,” he said. “They see a minute’s activity as something they can easily do.”

“McDonald’s commitment to parents and children has been twofold,” said Neil Golden, chief marketing officer for McDonald’s USA, during a presentation held for the press in Chicago yesterday. “We’ve committed to giving parents the best information about our freshness and ingredients when making food choices. And we’re also committed to inspiring and empowering children.”

At the same presentation, McDonald’s said it will start introducing new product packaging in its U.S. and U.K. stores this month. The containers, for everything from drinks and sandwiches to the company’s iconic French fries, will use food photos and copy to position McDonald’s as a place that’s fun and easy to enjoy while shoring up the “story” the packaging tells to customers.

For example, text on the lid of the new Big Mac box says, “There Is Only One 100% Beef Big Mac.”

The new packaging replaces the designs that went along with the “I’m Lovin’ It” tagline, which tended to emphasize the varied lifestyles of McDonald’s customers rather than the menu itself.

McDonald’s said the new packaging would roll out gradually to overseas regions in 2009 and 2010. As it moves into their markets, global retailers will be able to customize the designs to accommodate both local menu items and regional languages. The company said it has prepared 500 different food photo options for the new packaging and will be able to accommodate copy written in the 21 languages spoken in the 188 countries where it now operates.

“This new packaging will help us reintroduce our iconic products to our customers and to showcase new foods,” Mary Dillon, McDonald’s global chief marketing officer, said yesterday.

The designs came from Boxer, a Birmingham U.K.-based agency affiliated with The Marketing Store, which was responsible for the earlier “Lovin’ It” packaging.

Last week, McDonald’s reported strong third-quarter financials including an 11% jump in net income on a 6% increase in sales. CEO Jim Skinner said in the call following that announcement that he was “optimistic” about the chain’s fortunes in a down economy.





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