As McDonald's, feeling the heat from nutrition advocates, has changed the way it markets to children, it has found new ways to the think about its Happy Meal brand. “We’re changing the way we look at marketing, to bridge the gap and change the dialog and correct the misperceptions,” says Neil Golden, SVP/CMO, addressing attendees at the ANA Masters of Marketing conference.
He says its research found that kids think messages about nutrition and health are boring, but liked the idea of what healthy eating can do for them. The result, animated spots from Leo Burnett featuring a goat named Ferris, who likes eating apples, low-fat milk and even the brand’s iconic box, became a key part of its Champions of Happy effort. That has translated into its other nutritional messaging, he says, including focus on suppliers, which will unleash a second wave of creative in January, and its under-400-calorie menu and new offerings.