McDonald’s rebrands global packaging, looks to focus on affordability

McDonald’s recently unveiled a brand-new look for its packaging, thanks to the design work of agency Pearlfisher. The minimalistic look and flat aesthetic is similar in some ways to competitor Burger King’s new branding, but unlike Burger King, McDonald’s latest design is meant to evoke “joyful moments” rather than nostalgia. McDonald’s is already one of the most recognizable brands in the world, so that gives marketing creatives a bit of freedom when it comes to aspects of the brand beyond the iconic golden arches.

“The full family of products look confident and simple now, but it’s because a lot of thought and consideration went into stripping each item to its purest, most personable form. It encompasses McDonald’s menu and leaves room for new innovations yet to come,” Hamish Campbell, Pearlfisher’s VP and Executive Creative Director, explained to Adweek.

The restaurant industry has been coping with the impact of the pandemic, as fewer people are eating on-site either out of safety concerns or outright closures due to coronavirus restrictions. Burger King recently posted a 7.9% fall in fourth-quarter comparable sales, while McDonald’s revenue dipped 2% last quarter thanks to numerous international lockdowns. In the US, sales actually grew and CEO Chris Kempczinski said during an earnings call that the fast-food company is especially emphasizing its drive-thru and delivery options during this time.

Another key for McDonald’s, according to Kempczinski, will be a focus on affordability. A new loyalty program will launch later this year, giving customers more value for their money. “What we’re seeing right now is that concern for economic uncertainty is, by far, the single … biggest concern that exists with our consumers,” he noted. “We think affordability is going to be one of the things that all of us need to stay focused on in a prudent way in 2021.”

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has changed consumer behavior, and companies have no choice but to adapt. Interpret’s New Media Measure® shows that a sizable portion of McDonald’s audience has cut back on spending, with over a fifth dialing back their living expenses. For fast-food chains like McDonald’s, understanding that many of their patrons may be suffering will be crucial to navigating the COVID storm.