Three weeks after re-launching its annual Monopoly game and six days since rolling out its new aggressive “transparency” campaign, McDonald’s has seen brief quality perception and purchase consideration boosts with millennials each time a new campaign has been unveiled.
However, there has not been a similar improvement in quality perception with either mothers or fast food eaters so far, according to YouGov BrandIndex, the only daily brand consumer perception research service.
While the news has been mixed across all three important demographic groups throughout October in quality perception and purchase consideration – the percentage of each group who would consider buying McDonald’s the next time they are in the market for fast food – McDonald’s is getting an across the board boost in perception for “coming clean” in their newest campaign.
We measured perception using our Buzz score, which asks respondents: "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?" Quality score is determined by asking respondents "Does the chain represent good quality or poor quality?" Both scores can range from 100 to -100, with zero equaling positive and negative feedback.
Here is how the cumulative effect of McDonald’s re-launching its famous annual Monopoly game on September 30th followed by the “Our Food Your Questions” campaign on October 13th seems to have impacted the three key demographic groups:
Millennials have had the most positive reaction over the time period. Buzz moved up 25 points from -10 on the Monday when the transparency campaign started to 15 over the weekend, its highest Buzz score since early August.
But quality perception and purchase consideration have shown similar patterns to each other throughout October: they both went up for a short while when McDonald’s unveiled a new contest or campaign, and then retreated.
With Monopoly’s September 30th debut, the millennials’ Quality score shot up from -28 and hit 1 six days later, where it stayed for a couple of days and dropped down to -32 when the transparency campaign began. It has since moved up to -22, moderate when compared to the movement post the Monopoly campaign...
It's been a similar roller coaster for purchase consideration: going from 26% at the Monopoly kick-off to 43% ten days later, only to come down to 24% at the start of the transparency campaign. The score has since made it up to 35% on Friday and then tailed off to 31% over the weekend.
The irony of Monopoly's run with mothers was that it seemed to persuade more of them to consider going to McDonald's with increased purchase consideration scores, yet at the same time, Quality scores went down to their lowest levels since Labor Day.
Purchase consideration scores among moms improved 10 points from 33% to 43% from the Monopoly’s launch until Friday, October 17th, a full five days after the transparency campaign launched. That represented a rebound as purchase consideration scores had been drifting down for the prior month.
However, Quality scores for moms dropped after the Monopoly campaign launched, going from a 4 score on September 30th down to -17 on Monday, October 13th. The transparency campaign appears to have little initial impact, with McDonald’s current score at -16.
Mothers had the second best positive reaction to the “Our Food Your Questions” campaign, jumping 16 points from a -2 score on the Monday it started to an 18 score by Friday, then down to 11 over the weekend.
Fast Food Eaters
Fast food eaters seemed to be the least swayed by either of McDonald’s October campaigns.
Monopoly appeared to have the opposite of the intended effect on purchase consideration compared to the other two demos, by dropping to its lowest mark since mid-August with fast food eaters. As soon as Monopoly was re-launched on September 30th, purchase consideration scores for fast food eaters dropped moderately from 45% to 39% on October 7th, where it stayed for five days before rebounding. The transparency campaign moved it up only a couple of points, from 40% to 42%, and now it’s settled at 43%.
Quality scores were impacted even less and only moved within a very small range: jumping a modest two points the first few days of Monopoly, from a 1 score to a 3 before heading down to -4 when the transparency campaign began. It then bumped up briefly for one day to a 1 score and then right back down to -3 for the remainder of the week, before inching up to a -2 score over the weekend.
Both McDonald's campaigns seem to have had only a minor impact on the fast food eater group too: after Monopoly, Buzz dropped from an 8 score to 2, and after the transparency campaign launched, it moved from 3 back up to an 8 score.
For this McDonald’s research, YouGov BrandIndex measured three groups: women with children 18 and under, adults age 18 to 34, and adults 18 and over who have eaten fast food at least once in the past three months.