A Canadian marketing campaign for McDonald's Corp. has gone global.
On Tuesday, the chain's largest market, the U.S., launched the "Our Food. Your Questions" ad campaign that originated in Canada.
The campaign has won McDonald's Canada worldwide attention since it launched in 2012, with the promise that the company would answer even the most aggressive or unflattering questions about its food quality.
Since then, it has won advertising awards for tackling issues such as how its hamburgers are Photoshopped for advertisements, and news of a processed meat byproduct known colloquially as "pink slime."
Marketing executives beyond Canadian borders have noticed, as well. The campaign has been adapted in Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Latin America. Now, the company is betting that American consumers will be hungry for this kind of message.
In the new U.S. version, Grant Imahara, formerly of Discovery's TV show "MythBusters," will visit suppliers and restaurants to deliver the answers in online videos.
The U.S. press materials present a sunny version of consumers' questions: among the examples of what they might ask, the release includes the question, "Why are the fries so good?"
The Canadian campaign has received much tougher questions, including repeated queries about ammonia in hamburgers and "pink slime." Other questions have included, "Why does your food have to be so high [in] fat?" and "Why do you put so much salt on the fries?"
A Canadian will also be helping to steer the U.S. campaign. Joel Yashinsky, who was McDonald's Canada chief marketing officer when the campaign launched here, is now vice-president of marketing for McDonald's U.S.
The campaign will continue in Canada as well. So far, the company has answered more than 23,000 questions – mostly in written form on its website and social media channels, though also through online videos (some of which have appeared on television as well). Answering more of them will be a priority going forward. Canadian consumers can expect to continue to see the company releasing videos and other advertising that continues that campaign.
"People loved the transparency. But with transparency, you cannot just do it once. It has to be continuous," said Antoinette Benoit, who took up the post of McDonald's Canada chief marketing officer in March. "With 'OurFood. Your Questions,' we have a lot more to do."