‘A Lot Has Changed, But Nothing Has Changed’

McDonald’s is today a familiar name in most urban Indian households, so it’s hard to imagine that 20 years ago, when McDonald’s first arrived in the country, it was perceived as an “American” company, its glass doors meant air-conditioned interiors and therefore, perceived as being “expensive”, and its self-service method was unheard of, according to Kedar Teny, Director – Marketing & Digital, McDonalds India.

Thus, McDonald’s India knew it had a big task ahead of it: to win over the hearts of Indians. Therefore, the first step was to showcase the restaurant as a comfortable place to have a meal not just for anyone but for the entire family.

McDonald’s India’s first ad did just that. The campaign, with its message, “McDonald’s mein hai kuch baat”, invited people to enter the restaurant and experience “a clean environment and great quality food, at a quarter of the price.”

The ad was warm and familiar, and represented the opening of the glass doors to every Indian family.

Once the families arrived, they felt even more at home on tasting their familiar aloo-tikki inside a burger, instead of a foreign burger with completely new ingredients. After the cultural appeal of its food, its stylish international ambience and spotless interiors, fulfilled aspirational appeal as well.

The restaurant’s appeal as a family-style restaurant proved to be its USP. Instead of single or couples strolling in to have a bite, entire families came in to share a meal and have a good time. The friendly demeanour of the McDonald’s staff went a long way in making that possible.

Explaining this year’s theme of “A Lot Has Changed But Nothing Has Changed”, Kedar Teny says, “When we reached our 20th year milestone in India, we had informal conversations with our customers to know what they thought. Then we realised that while a lot had changed, in terms of us offering many new offers like more restaurants, launch of McCafés (the speciality coffee unit), Drive-Ins and McDelivery – as convenience is at the heart of the brand – some things hadn’t changed at all – like wanting to have the last piece of the French fries, and looking for the toy with the Happy Meal. It’s fascinating”

“So, it was an insight into how a lot had changed (in terms of offers) yet nothing had changed (in terms of the love for the products),” according to Teny.

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