I’m a big fan of McDonald’s but I’m in a real quandary about what their Brazilian team did last week. In an attempt to promote social distancing, the brand divided its usually conjoined Golden Arches into two distinctive but separate curves. The move, executed across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, was meant to convey the idea that we are “separated for a moment so that we can always be together”.
On the one hand this is a textbook bit of brand management. Playing with codes to communicate a broader social message is going to get you a lot of media coverage, it’s going to reinforce the distinctiveness of McDonald’s, and it should build brand equity in a time when brands need all the equity they can get.
But it was also just a little bit…tacky. For all the creativity and agility on display there was something not quite right about the cleverness of the response. It was a sentiment felt by many – though not all – across social media, where the revised logo was met with a mix of delight from some and revulsion from others.
While my head nodded along with Tony, who liked it, my heart was definitely with Dotunbello, who did not. Something was not quite right here. And the feeling only grew stronger through the week as email after email arrived in my inbox from brands that I hardly remember buying anything from asking if I was OK.