‘End Of Brand Positioning As We Know It’

Jun 17, 2004

By George Anderson

Larry Light, chief marketing officer for McDonald’s, had a startling message for attendees at the AdWatch: Outlook 2004 conference. Mass marketing doesn’t work, at least not well enough to continue pouring the types of advertising dollars the chain has historically done in primetime broadcast television, for example.

According to a report on the Ad Age Web site, Mr. Light said McDonald’s was adopting a new marketing approach he called “brand journalism,” signaling “the end of brand positioning as we know it.”

“Brand journalism”, said Mr. Light, is “what happens to a brand in the world.”

“We don’t need one big execution of a big idea. We need one big idea that can be used in a multidimensional, multilayered and multifaceted way,” he said.

The world’s largest fast food chain is looking to take its “I’m Lovin’ It” message and translate it into what Ad Age described as the “cultural languages” of fashion, entertainment, music and sports.

Moderator’s Comment: What is your reaction to Larry Light’s statements? What do you think about McD’s “brand journalism”
approach to marketing?

Despite a clear shift in its strategy for how and where it delivers its “I’m Lovin’ It” marketing message, it should be noted McD’s still spends approximately
one-third of its nearly $600 million annual advertising budget on primetime television broadcasts.

George Anderson – Moderator

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