I admit, I like McDonald’s marketing; I have even before I knew what marketing was. Something about their campaigns has always spoken to me, so I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that while doing the dishes and watching the ‘Globes, I found myself drawn into their newest campaign – the one featuring local franchisee signs across the county and their personal messages. Maybe it was the song, “Carry On,” sung by the children’s choir that is now streaming through my head as I write this. Or the fact that watching the signs flip through on the screen brought me back to where I was during the historic events they reference. Or maybe it’s because I now work in marketing and I knew this was their latest work.
As healthcare marketers, we are faced with challenges day in and day out, such as how do we get potential patients to try our brand, or at least consider our brand so at the time of need they choose us? How do we, as large healthcare systems, seem relatable at the local level to the patients we actually serve and not like a global gorilla embroiled in the national healthcare debate?
This campaign was a smart way, in my opinion, to engage the communities McDonald’s serves. We are always trying to humanize our brands, to be responsive and current. What captured me was that McDonald’s was able to achieve all of those things. Even though some of the messages on the signs were years old, McDonald’s made them relevant today, and then linked that very traditional, local outdoor signage across the digital landscape by creating a TV and social media (Tumbler and Twitter) campaign that is relatable to people all over the nation.
Signs from over the past 20 years with messages from small-business owners of local franchises helped to offset the image of a corporate giant. If you work for a large health system, do you wish you had a lever like that that you could pull to create a localized feel?
What can we as healthcare marketers learn from this? Large systems need to make the effort to relate to the local markets we serve. It is a smart way to engage the communities we work so hard to take care of.
So what do you think-- is this the best work they’ve done in years or are they cashing in to sell burgers?