McDonald’s looks to the past to show the impact it wants to have on the future

Instead of just being a trip down memory lane, the "Love What's Next" platform reflects a shift towards being more actively purpose-led.
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McDonald’s Canada is marking its 55th anniversary in Canada by launching a new long-term campaign that aims to put its community efforts and investments at the forefront of its brand identity.

The spot kicking off “Love What’s Next” takes place in a McDonald’s restaurant from the late ’60s that gradually transitions to the present day, complete with era-specific decor, signage, packaging and staff uniforms along the way.

As it moves through the years, the spot also touches on numerous things that have been staples of McDonald’s Canadian marketing over the years, such as being a community meeting place, sourcing ingredients from Canadian farmers, the employment opportunities it offers for youth and the money it has raised for Ronald McDonald House.

Alyssa Buetikofer, CMO and VP of marketing at McDonald’s Canada, says things ranging from birthday parties to raising money are part of the QSR’s brand identity, but this new campaign is reflecting a major shift in business towards being more actively purpose-led.

“We’re on a mission to make it easy for Canadians to trust and admire who we are as a company,” she says. Putting its community-focused efforts more at the forefront of its marketing is also reflective of the things consumers want to see and hear from the companies they do business with.

“As our communities grow and change, so do their priorities. Our guests want to know they can trust us to act responsibly,” says Gemma Pryor, senior director of the McDonald’s Canada Impact Team, which is helping to coordinate these changes across the company’s operations.

McDonald’s Canada is focusing on three main areas as part of its “investment in the future”: communities, food and the planet.

Under community, McDonald’s – along with independent franchisees and donating guests – has a goal to send more then $70 million to Ronald McDonald House Charities over the next five years, which will nearly double the number of bedrooms in its facilities. It also plans to pursue partnerships and programs, to provide approximately one million meals every year to address food insecurity, up from the 800,000 it donated over the last two years. Finally, McDonald’s also plans to continue its commitment to partnerships with the Canadian Red Cross and other community efforts to support communities in times of crisis.

On the food front, McDonald’s plans to continue its practices of sourcing ingredients from nearly 50,000 Canadian farms and sponsoring programs to develop future generations of farmers, as well as supporting regenerative agriculture and sustainable beef production.

Finally, McDonald’s Canada is also committed to the company’s global goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, helped by efforts such as introducing its first electric vehicle to its distribution fleet in April. It also has a goal to source all of its guest packaging from renewable, recycled, or certified sources by the end of 2025, as well as reduce the use of new fossil fuel-based plastics in Happy Meal toys.

The campaign letting Canadians know about the impact McDonald’s Canada wants to have will be running on TV, OLV, digital, Spotify, e-mail, website and social. McDonald’s Canadian AORs are all supporting the campaign, with Cossette on creative, OMD on media and Weber Shandwick on PR. More announcements about other commitments McDonald’s is making are expected over the coming months.

“We’ve always felt that our role in Canada goes beyond serving burgers to feeding and fostering our local communities,” said Michèle Boudria, president and CEO of McDonald’s Canada. “We want Canadians to know we remain absolutely committed to living our purpose, every single day, so they can feel good about enjoying the McDonald’s they love for years to come.”