The McDonald’s Brand Promotion Mix


Large corporations involved in delivering goods or services to mass consumers must invent and utilize numerous techniques for promoting their products to the public. Therefore, this paper aims to evaluate McDonald’s global promotion and communication strategies. McDonald’s various target demographics, platforms, and management techniques are comprehensively evaluated. Moreover, to ensure successful regulation of management processes, the extant communicational weaknesses and opportunities are addressed, and practical suggestions for brand managers are provided.

Promotion Mix

McDonald’s has invested in developing and distributing ads using various media as a part of its advertising and sponsorship effort. A significant advertising campaign, in addition, consists of sponsorship through partnerships with brands and celebrity endorsements. The fast-food company has launched advertising campaigns with various themes (Baliun et al. 2021). These campaigns are based on special cases, and the target geographical audience’s cultural preferences use traditional communication means, such as television, print, and outdoor displays.

McDonald’s has sponsored sporting events such as the Olympic Games, the World Cup, baseball, and Little League softball. In certain geographical markets, the organization hires local celebrities in television and film, pop music, and sports as supporters of the brand to attract the fans of prominent local figures and appeal to local audiences. This company has developed advertising campaigns specifically for children and their parents. An integral part of McDonald’s advertising strategy is a conscious desire to remain an attractive brand for children (Baliun et al. 2021). McDonald’s has elaborated promotional activities and deployed marketing messages for a younger audience. This marketing tactic boils down to the need to advertise a fast-food company as a restaurant focused on children and families. Addressing children will mean addressing their parents and their entire family.

Personal Selling

The company’s selling policy is based on the principle of anti-casting. Very attractive women do not work at the checkout; salespeople are chosen so that they do not distract the potential customer from the menu with their appearance. According to the personal selling policy of the company, the client should focus on the company’s products and not the service staff (Winoto et al. 2022). For this reason, all women working at Mcdonald’s are forbidden to make up brightly, do manicures, use perfumes at work, or wear jewelry, including rings and earrings.

The policy of the company is aimed not only at visitors. Until the 70s, only men worked at Mcdonald’s, but the feminist movement in the USA made adjustments to the workflow of this global giant (Winoto et al. 2022). The women achieved equality and obliged Mcdonald’s management to allow them to work with the men. The management of Mcdonald’s feared a woman in the workplace could distract men, and the quality of production would drop. Therefore, the management of Mcdonald’s decided not to hire beautiful girls. Those who have passed anti-casting must wear men’s clothes, which hide all the signs of a female figure.

Sales Promotion

McDonald’s’ sales promotion is quite flexible and depends on the location of the establishments. The organization focuses primarily on drivers in some localities, offering drive-through services. It is aimed primarily at metro users in other cities, offering the McExpress service. This is since McDonald’s places its business units either at metro stations or in places with large concentrations of population. At the same time, the company partially must modify its traditional corporate service process. McDonald’s restaurants try to choose places for their business units with the possibility of parking spaces and organizing outdoor cafes (Dilip et al. 2018). In this chain of restaurants, there is always a large availability of cash registers and wide counters. A selective implementation strategy is used when a high price is observed with low costs and sales promotion.

Public Relations

As a large commercial company, McDonald’s has its PR service, resorting to the help of independent PR agencies and public relations specialists. It is known that the management of McDonald’s takes a responsible approach to the recruitment of personnel using modern testing and training technologies (Utama et al. 2021). This applies to the public relations department, including high-level specialists. Every department has employees grouped into six different areas: advertising, media, analytics, research, writing articles and press releases, technical work, and design.

The sufficiently effective PR activity of McDonald’s and the significant financial resources of the company can be explained by the professionalism of the PR service personnel. The PR and Advertising department combines the two most important communication technologies (Utama et al. 2021). It unites two powerful communication tools – PR and advertising. The activities of the literary group and the design studio make it possible to have a comprehensive and complete communication impact.

Direct & Digital Marketing

McDonald’s uses almost every social network possible; for example, in Brazil, it has a special approach to running a marketing company on Instagram. As a result, other users’ number of company profile tags increased by 58.5% (Edeh et al. 2021). McDonald’s decided to position food there not with the help of promotional photos but with the help of emotions and lifestyle pictures of ordinary customers. The company tracked all the photos in which its profile was marked with hashtags of products currently available. After that, manual photo moderation was enabled, and the author of each approved photo was asked permission to use their post in the menu.

The company has a YouTube channel where not only a bunch of commercials can be found but also videos from the life of the company, which contributes to promotion (Edeh et al. 2021). McDonald’s is one of the first enterprises to launch a mobile application for its customers, where they could carry out orders and participate in all kinds of promotions. Launching a loyalty program, an important part of direct marketing allows promoting the company by directly influencing the buyer.

Communication Strategy

McDonald’s adheres to a horizontal communication strategy that assumes that all organizational communications are between departments, employees, or managers. The possibilities of such a strategy are that it works perfectly for exchanging information, solving problems, and coordinating tasks. When ideas do not need to be approved at the highest level, it gives an impetus to rapid and effective communication and ensures the organic growth of the company (Srivastava et al. 2021). Misunderstandings and conflicts are suppressed effectively while strengthening teamwork. Employees always feel the support of the business – both emotional and social.

Direct interaction between management and employees generates demand and promotes the brand through communication with the target audience. Among the possibilities, we can highlight the formation of a unique trading offer and further increase customer loyalty. Moreover, there is the possibility of creating an image and the separation of emotional and rational factors of the brand. The choice of this strategy allows for effectively using both mass advertising and an individual offer. In this regard, further opportunities for integrating search advertising and special offers are opening.


The horizontal communication system that McDonald’s adheres to has drawbacks. For example, employees can communicate in a more relaxed and familiar manner, which can cause conflicts. Departments often exaggerate the importance of the tasks they are working on and are outraged by the actions of other teams, undermining the joint efforts to create a unified communication system. There is a risk of such weakness as the lack of a single integral communication strategy (Srivastava et al. 2021). Each department or specialist works as an autonomous unit, coordinating their actions for too long. Then the most creative and verified SMM, or PR, or marketing strategy, separated from the general context, does not work efficiently.

Moreover, due to the difficulties in creating a unified communication system, there is a risk of misunderstanding and confusion about the company’s goals. Weakness can be expressed in a blurred starting point for understanding communication goals. Another common extreme is placement on the principle of universal coverage. In this case, there is a weakness expressed in the inability to reach the audience in the many channels involved.

Suggestions For the Brand Manager

It is advisable to increase seating to improve the situation with queues at the entrance. However, this problem cannot be fully solved since queues are caused by the high demand for the services of the McDonald’s restaurant. McDonald’s has hours when the tables are empty, and there is no one in the queue; the gaps that arise can be filled with the help of various promotions.

The first solution to the problem is to offer exclusive novelties with a big discount during these hours. The restaurant will profit from additional sales, while the number of available tables will decrease, and the unit’s performance indicator will approach the maximum. The second way to solve this problem is to have a compliment from the institution. When buying a product at a certain time, a dessert is offered as a gift. It is possible to limit the assortment to fix the level of expenses. The third way is when occupying a table for a certain time range, guests receive a discount on the order, for example, 5% (Edeh et al. 2021). If the time is fixed for more than twenty minutes, the bonus is lost, ensuring the most accurate hit of guests in the desired time range. Measures of this nature will not find a response in every guest. However, they will attract the category of consumers who are willing to change the time of the visit to receive some bonuses.

The second suggestion for a brand manager may be a widespread elaboration of the spiritual dimension of the brand in detail. For example, a restaurant chain can start cooperation with charitable foundations and aid orphaned children or the homeless, especially since separate branches already carry out individual actions. This approach will help the guests feel that they, together with McDonald’s, have helped a good cause come true. In some departments, it is possible to permanently conduct free workshops for children. Young visitors can be offered to try themselves as a fast-food chef. For parents, such events will give free time, which will increase brand loyalty. By attracting even more children in this way, McDonald’s will receive the favor of their parents.

The third suggestion for the brand manager will be to work on bringing the service to a higher quality level. Staff should be regularly trained, and certification carried out to achieve this. Moreover, shortcomings in the work of the personnel of the contact area should be identified with their subsequent correction.

The quality of service impacts the financial performance of the restaurant, as it forms a steady stream of consumers who want to enjoy the level of service provided. With the growth of the service culture, the turnover increases, profitability increases, and the costs of handling restaurant businesses decrease. Due to the rapid circulation of personnel, there may be problems with the quality of service, which negatively affects the company’s brand. A way to receive customer feedback (in addition to the traditional complaint book) is through specialized review sites. Regular training of employees will help avoid loss of service quality even during peak hours.


McDonald’s promotion strategies aim to create an image of the company that appeals to all people, from children to adults, across different cultures. These strategies include anti-casting, localized sales promotion, brand and celebrity partnerships, technology-powered communication, and social media PR. McDonald’s utilizes horizontal communication, which may result in intradepartmental conflicts and a lack of clarity regarding universal company goals, although efficient, rapid, and direct. Some of the suggestions for the brand management include offering exclusive discounts during quiet hours, emphasizing charity, communicating with children audience, and increasing service quality.

Reference List

Baliun, O., Tomina, K., Fisenko, T., Smola, L. and Lytvyn, A. (2021) ‘Psychosemantic interpretation of media space video advertising for brands (Mcdonald’s, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Roshen)’, Amazonia Investiga, 10(46), pp. 259-272.

Dilip, D., Sinha, R., Wei, O., Kee, D., Leei, O., Shuang, P., En, T. and Permatasari, V. (2018) ‘Effective and differentiating marketing strategies of McDonald’s in Malaysia and Indonesia’, Journal of the Community Development in Asia, 28(17), pp. 16-33.

Edeh, F., Ranjith, P., Syafawani, N., Kee, D., Aina, N. and Syafikah, N. (2021) ‘McDonald’s customer’s satisfaction strategies during Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia’, International Journal of Tourism & Hospitality in Asia Pasific, 4(3), pp. 73-88.

Srivastava, R., Manimoy, P. and Bhanot, S. (2021) ‘Will perception of customers of McDonald’s fast-food restaurant be different in India and USA: A comparative study between the two countries’ culture’, International Journal of Export Marketing, 4(2), pp. 150-177.

Utama, A., Kumar, N., Wen, S., Kee, D., Er, T., Xin, T., Yuan, Y. and Hasifa, M. (2021) ‘Factors influencing consumer behaviour: A case of McDonald’s’, Advances in Global Economics and Business Journal, 4(6), pp. 55-64.

Winoto, H., Tecoalu, M., Mannuela, R., Widjaja, D., Colline, F. and Wahyoedi, S. (2022) ‘Study of brand image, creative marketing in mediating product quality and service quality on consumer loyalty at McDonald’s Jakarta area during the Covid-19 pandemic’, Central Asia and The Caucasus, 23(1), pp. 17-18.

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