Our perspective at VantagePoint

A valuable marketing lesson from my lunch

angus_burgerSo I decided to go to McDonalds for lunch. I only go a couple of times a month, but I had a coupon for their new 1/3-pound angus burger. And I’d seen an ad on TV. And an ad in the newspaper. Yes, the Mickey-D’s marketing machine was working on me – until it crashed and burned horribly.

As I pulled to the drive-in, the voice mumbled “welcometomcdonaldswouldyouliketotryourangusburger.” And I, coupon in hand, said,
“Why yes, I would.” I then explained I had a coupon for a free fries and drink if I ordered one, so I’d like a deluxe, medium fries, and a medium Coke. And there was a long pause. Silence. “Um, pull around.” Hmmm. Not a good omen.

I pulled to the first window and handed over my coupon. The person-behind-the-voice looked puzzled, and then left. He returned with what appeared to be a manager, who was muttering, “These coupons are so frustrating. I’ll be glad when this promo is over.”

So now I know that by acting on the marketing gimmick offered up by McDonalds to try their new angus burger, I have angered the personnel at the restaurant responsible for making my angus burger. This does not bode well.

I paid my discounted price, pulled up to the next window, and waited for my food. After a moment, the cheerful teen at that window handed me my drink and a very large bag. I looked inside to find that my free fries were everywhere except in their nifty red cardboard pouch.

I got back to my office, pulled out the box my sandwich came in, opened it up, and wouldn’t you know that the sandwich was upside down. Ok, I thought; I can turn my sandwich over easily enough. Or can I? You see, the other side of my sandwich looked exactly the same. My sandwich – my-first-time-trying-McDonalds’-brand-new-angus-burger-sandwich – had no top! Only bottoms. (And of course it looked NOTHING like the beautiful image on my coupon.)

I took one of the bun halves off, only to find enough mayonnaise to float a small tugboat in. After scraping that off, I tried to enjoy the sandwich. And, believe it or not, it wasn’t bad. That is, until I got to the last portion of the sandwich and hit a patch of salt so thick I might as well have been licking the ground at Bonneville.

So I’m calling my experience with McDonalds’ new sandwich a complete failure. Which translates to failed marketing. The TV ad, the newspaper ad, and the coupon all worked together perfectly to get me to try the new burger. But the cashier, the manager and the sandwich maker all performed their tasks so poorly that I will probably never buy one again.

Somewhere in Oak Brook, a marketing exec is crying. His perfect marketing plan was foiled by the people on the front line, ultimately damaging his brand. (I was definitely NOT “lovin’ it.”)

The moral of the story is this: make sure your entire team supports your brand and your marketing, and especially those who deal with your customers directly.

(Now the Coke that came with my meal, on the other hand, was perfect . . . )


  • Sam Holt says:

    That’s hilarious. And so depressing. All at the same time. Through my employment at Chick-fil-A, I’ve learned that marketing must start with the company’s operations. It must be done from the inside out. Like you said, it’s no good to advertise a crappy (excuse the language) customer service experience. There will definitely be no branding or customer loyalty.

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