McDonald's Creative Agency Review: Who is the Health-Conscious Foodie?

McDonald's just launched a USA creative agency review with hopes to significantly reduce the number of agencies servicing the Golden Arches and sharpen its brand messaging. The review, which includes both current roster agencies as well as newcomers, is expected to lessen the number of creative agencies working with McDonald’s USA from 60 to less than 10.

Why the review? McDonald’s has been transforming its menu over the past few years in an attempt to become more relevant to a younger crowd, meet changing consumer tastes, and increase the declining foot traffic in stores. The marketplace is changing, and the fast food giant has been trying to find its place in an increasingly health-conscious, digital marketplace. Consolidating the number of creative agencies servicing the brand and creating consistent collateral will help move the brand in the right direction.

We used an Affinio Network Graph report to analyze the McDonald's USA Twitter audience to understand what interest-based segments the brand is currently attracting. These audiences are represented in an Affinio-generated Network Graph shown in the platform screenshot below. Interest-based audience segments or “clusters” include Sports Fans, News Junkies, Gamers, and Sweepstake Moms.

While McDonald's is already targeting a variety of consumer segments, widening the overall audience is a “key issue” for the brand, says the Financial Times. What if McDonald’s put its effort towards targeting and attracting a new audience segment? People are eating less fast food than ever before and are becoming increasingly health-conscious. Based on these trends, we believe that there is an opportunity for pitching agencies to focus on a new audience segment: The Health-Conscious Foodie.

While the Health-Conscious Foodie may not seem like the most promising target market for McDonald’s, the fast food chain is already making significant moves to attract health-conscious customers by adding new menu items. Today, all US Happy Meals include seasonal fruit or a low-fat dairy option, new salads were recently introduced across the US that includes baby spinach, baby kale, and ribbon-cut carrots, with more to come.

Who are Health-Conscious Foodies?

Using Affinio, we analyzed the audience of a number of American health magazines to find an audience segment that matches the profile of a Health-Conscious Foodie.

Here’s what we know about them:

Looking at the Affinio Members section, we know that the Health-Conscious Foodie skews predominantly female (74.9%) and falls into the age category 25-34 (48.5%). They are primarily located in coastal cities such as New York and Los Angeles and engage with content such as recipes and giveaways.

Referring to the Affinio Interests section, where the top contextually-relevant 1000 accounts the audience members follow are listed, we can quickly understand what influences this audience and their preferences. The Health-Conscious Foodie reads magazines such as Women’s Health and Everyday Health and uses apps like Pinterest and Instagram to find the latest and greatest recipes or workout plans. In their free time, you’ll find them exercising at their local CrossFit gym or AnytimeFitness and grabbing groceries at Whole Foods. When it comes to shopping, stores like Lululemon, Nike, and Victoria’s Secret are at the top of their wish list.

Using the Affinio Content section, we can see what content is resonating with the audience including topics, links, videos, and more. Using Affinio’s Image Explorer subsection, we can find themes in the various images the audience posts. As seen in the platform screenshot below, the Health-Conscious Foodie loves sharing high-quality photos of their meals or dream recipes.

Where does McDonald's fit in?

But are Health-Conscious Foodies open to McDonald’s menu changes? Referring back to audience data, although the Health-Conscious Foodie has a higher affinity to food brands like Whole Foods, Subway, and UDI’s Gluten Free Bread, McDonald’s is found within the top 1000 interests of the audience. This shows that the Health-Conscious Foodie has some interest in the McDonald’s brand and may be receptive to its brand messaging if done authentically.

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In order to authentically reach this target market, the short-listed creative agencies will need to rely heavily on audience data to reach and understand the Health-Conscious Foodie. In today’s media landscape, it is critical that data and creative are married as audiences expect customized personal content. Perhaps we will see a campaign with foodies taking photos of McDonald’s kale salads in the near future?

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