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McDonald's radio initiative: Effective storytelling but deviation in message

12-April-2013
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McDonald's radio initiative: Effective storytelling but deviation in message

With the emerging demand for more interactive and rooted content, storytelling has emerged as one of the most effective methods to reach out to the listener. An interesting and well narrated story fills in the visual gap often faced by the radio advertisers and listeners.

To promote its Happy Price Menu, McDonald’s created a radio campaign that rides strongly on the back of storytelling. The campaign has various spots, each conveying the message that one can rely on the ‘Happy Price Menu’ even when they are low on cash. The advertisements effective capture day to day moments in a teen’s life, thus clearly communicating with the youth target audience.

“The spots talk to the audience, for youngsters it’s immediate connect, for young adults it will bring a twang of nostalgia,” said Ambika Sharma, Managing Director and CEO, Pulp Strategy. “When listening to them, the visual story pops up in your mind immediately. The story telling is great and the content is one which the youth can relate to – prankish fun is commonplace, all in good spirit,” she added.

The campaign brings to fore situations such as a sister covering up for her elder brother who comes home late at night and a friend tricking somebody else into believing that he was the reason the lead character topped in exams, thus forcing him to give a party.

McDonald’s has been one of the heavy spenders on radio since quite a long time. Designed by Leo Burnett, the brand’s Happy Price Menu radio advertisement had also grabbed a Golden Mike. While, all the spots bring out the humour and budget quotient well, they deviate from the ‘Kabhi kabhi baat paiso ki nahi, khushiyon ki hoti hai’ message brought out in the television commercials.

“Giving a person a cheaper option for treating his friends is a drop from what the brand tried to communicate and build through television, remarked Upendra Singh Thakur, Co-Founder, Origin Beanstalk. “Though humour and conversation style works on radio as it engages the audience, the situations should be more identifiable with the radio listener who I think is much more mature and consumes this medium mainly while in his/her vehicle or at home.”

Radio’s major strength is that it helps create a brand recall value, and thus a person who sees the television advertisement should instantly connect with the radio spot. However, a difference in message might not be able to create the same recall value. “McDonalds should have stuck to their emotional route in radio as well,” added Thakur.
 

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