Monday, November 23, 2015

Logoistic - McDonald's || Mohammed Fahd || IIM Shillong || September October 2015 edition


McDonald’s is one of the world’s most popular Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs). The industry giant has its presence in 119 countries & this extensive network has not only benefited the company but also economics wherein the Big Mac Index was introduced as a measure of purchasing power parity (PPP). The company was founded in 1940 as a barbecue diner by Maurice & Richard McDonald & was later morphed into a hamburger joint before it was ultimately purchased by businessman Ray Kroc who saw immense potential in a chain of hamburger restaurants. He revamped the company & gave it a new direction which has led to McDonald’s becoming the behemoth that everyone’s familiar with. 

The History Behind the Logo 

The McDonald’s “Golden Arches” is one of the most widely recognised logos in the world. Its simplicity & its representation of the letter ‘M’ in the golden colour of the company’s iconic French fries immediately generates brand recall. However, the logo that has faithfully represented the company in the 21st century has not been its flag-bearer since the company’s inception. In the olden days when the company was owned by the McDonalds & didn’t even have fries in their menu, the logo was “Tubby chef Speedee”. 

The logo was meant to represent the quick service offered at McDonald’s & the winking chef tried to communicate that very message to the patrons. During this time period barbecue was removed from the menu to improve service times & the focus shifted to the company’s hamburgers. 

It was not until 1961, that the “Golden Arches” logo was introduced. Inspired from one of the company’s most popular & distinctive outlets the arches which were designed by Stanley Meston, appealed to the imagination of the then new owner of the food chain, Ray Kroc, & the logo’s perception as the letter ‘M’ convinced him that this should be the new logo. 

Between 1960-1996 the logo underwent many minor changes. A blue outlining circle was the 1st followed by a standalone version of the arches with the company’s name removed too. This was followed by a removal of the strikethrough between the arches & the emboldening of the ‘M’ as the company emboldened its international presence in Europe & entered developing markets in Asia & the resulting logo was increasingly similar to the one that would come to define the company 2003 onwards. 

During this time period the company also introduced a mascot in Archie McDonald, a pre-cursor to the company’s popular jester & present-day mascot, Ronald McDonald. 


The company kept toying with the arches after 1993 & had different variants in different countries to adjust to local conditions. A number of renditions were also introduced in USA, with the M being emboldened & getting an outer shade initially followed by a re-introduction of the company name beneath the arches. 

However, the most successful change to the logo was brought about in 2003 when the company added the tagline – “I’m lovin’ it”. A red square in the background which was present in some countries was removed & a background shadow was added for extra effect. The “I’m lovin’ it” campaign was the company’s 1st global campaign & evolved the logo into one that would last till the present day. 

The logo was a start of a new chapter for the company following allegations of spreading obesity. In 2008, the company also launched the “What we’re made of?” campaign to ensure their customers that McDonald’s was not the reason for rising obesity in USA & that given the company’ ingredients it was perfectly safe to consume it’s products a few times a week. 

This was also followed by an introduction of its breakfast menu involving salads & fruits to adjust to the more health-conscious needs of its modern day consumers.

1 comment:

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