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McDonald’s turns to content marketing to beat the global economic crisis

Fast food giant McDonald’s profits have taken a hit recently, with new figures revealing that its second-quarter earnings fell by 4.5 per cent. The reason, according to CEO Don Thompson, is higher food, labour, occupancy and business-investment costs, coupled with lower consumer confidence.

But rather than reigning in promotional spending and hoping to ride out the downturn, McDonald’s is actually increasing its marketing activities to promote the ‘value’ of its offerings. Or, as Mr Thompson put is in business-speak: ‘This is a time for us to focus on guest-count growth and market-share gain. And so we really go at this very hard in times like these, even though it means an investment.’

Key to the strategy is letting people know how affordable – in terms of money, if not long-term health – a trip to Maccas can be. This means promoting (and even adding to) its value menus in markets that include Australia – which is where content marketing, and specifically social media content marketing, comes in.

McDonald’s Facebook page has over 20 million users, making it the clear market leader. In fact, it has amassed roughly the same number of likes as Burger King, Wendy’s, Chic-fil-A and Pizza Hut combined.

But as well as hammering home the affordability message (a post about the comedic possibilities of its extra value menu generated 701,000 likes and 896,000 people talking about it), McDonald’s marketing team clearly understands that online and social media content doesn’t have to solely or directly refer to a brand’s offering. Instead, surfers are tangentially linked to an iced smoothie, while engagement is generated through simple questions like, ‘If you could travel to any McDonald’s in the world, where would it be?’

Content marketing to the rescue? McDonald’s certainly thinks so…


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