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McDonald’s: when you think of the most established brands in the world, it likely comes out on top. And for a good reason – launched in 1948, McDonald’s has risen to become the globe’s largest fast-food chain, serving a staggering 68 million people each day. 


Despite its icon status, McDonald’s has never been one to stagnate in the market’s expectations for it. To this end, the brand is currently planning its most significant marketing overhaul in 16 years. This move serves as an excellent example of what other brands could accomplish, were they not so afraid to reinvent themselves.


Here’s what you need to know.


McDonald’s Brand Overhaul


McDonald’s has been one of the most consistent advertisers on U.S. airwaves for years, but it’s planning to change its approach in the coming months. Specifically, the brand wants to extend its reach to African-American consumers. To do this, it’s launching what it calls the “Black & Positively Golden” campaign. 


According to the retailer, this is the most significant overhaul to the restaurant chain’s targeted marketing in about 16 years. The effort is so broad that the brand is choosing to call it a campaign movement, rather than a campaign.  


Here are a few critical aspects of the new campaign:


  • The initiative will launch with a one-minute spot, which will air twice during the 50th Annual NAACP Image Awards, broadcast on March 30.
  • The campaign features images of a black Marine and other emotional moments, like a woman receiving a college scholarship issued by McDonald’s. 
  • McDonald’s will also issue a Black & Positively Golden award during the Image Awards. This will represent the brand’s first branded award. 
  • The campaign is utilizing radio ads and social media campaigns and will be launching ads on the new Instagram channel, @wearegolden. Finally, McDonald’s will print ads in Essence. 


McDonald’s Other Historic Rebrands

should i rebrand my business


McDonald’s major rebrand comes on the heels of another big change in recent years: the brand’s sweeping efforts at unification and a complete overhaul of the company’s global visual identity — incredibly important considering the company has more than 35,000 restaurants in more than 120 countries throughout the world. 


To unify these disparate locations, McDonald’s pared its branding back to the basics and focused on decluttering, highlighting, and simplifying. Here are a few critical elements of that brand shift:


  • Freeing the arches. Historically, McDonald’s golden arches were tied to the wordmark of the brand. Today, however, McDonald’s has liberated the golden arches to stand on their own, which imbues the brand with a sense of playfulness and energy.
  • Flipping the palette hierarchy. Historically, McDonald’s colors were red with touches of yellow. Recently, though, the brand has shifted that yellow to take center stage and has accentuated it with touches of red. The sunshine yellow makes people happy and keeps the brand feeling lively. 
  • Typography. McDonald’s used to use a series of fonts in several different weights. Today, though, the brand is using a single font in three weights – Speedee. This unifies the brand and helps make the already iconic marketing that much more recognizable. 


Rebrand Like McDonald’s

mcdonalds brand overhaul



McDonald’s has overhauled its marketing plan as its customers, and the environment around it has changed. If you want your brand to grow, you’d do well to add a bit of strategic planning to your brand strategy.


Specifically, here are a few things you’ll want to consider:


  • How to write a marketing plan. If you’ve never written a marketing plan before, it’s time to learn how to do market research for a business plan. There are a few critical reasons for this. First, a great marketing plan provides structure for your rebrand, while marketing plan sections ensure you’re targeting your intended demographic as effectively as possible. 
  • How to roll out a new logo. Your visual identity is critical to the health and wellbeing of your business. If you’re going to change that visual identity, you need to do it intentionally, intelligently, and with the assistance of a skilled branding team. Do not go through this process alone, or you risk confusing your audience and damaging your reputation. 
  • How to pivot your voice. McDonald’s is an excellent example of a brand that is expanding its brand voice without getting too far from its original mission. If you want to target a new audience segment, learning how to extend your brand voice in an authentic, natural way is essential. Again, a skilled branding team can help you on this count. 

A Brand Identity Change, Made Simple


What doesn’t bend breaks, and that’s as true for brand identity as it is anything else. As your demographics, customers, and services change, your brand identity should, as well. Fortunately, brands like McDonald’s are out there demonstrating that you are never too big or too established to reinvent yourself and that all you need to do it well is a bit of imagination and vision.


Need help with your upcoming brand rehaul? InThink provides agile, innovative marketing services for brands in a variety of verticals. Contact us today to learn more.