Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Message to Ron at the Golden "Corporate" Arches

I went through the Drive Thru this am and complained about that darn McCafe taped 5 second pitch. Anybody else know what I’m talking about? They said they couldn’t do anything about it.

So I wrote to Ronald McDonald myself!

Dear Ronald and other corporate types at the Golden Arch HQ,

It is not typical for me to complain and particularly so in writing, and never to an iconic company such as McDonald’s. Hell my first job was in a Sacramento Mickey D's slinging potatoes, and a lot of hot grease all over hell's half acre.

But now to the point; let's face it we are all “Lovin’ It” McDonald's and you remind us of this in your advertising constantly. But sometimes you annoy the living, well you know, out of me! Do we really need the annoying 3-5 second recorded McCafe pitch at the drive thru? Was your investment in McCafe really so risky that you have to resort to thoroughly bothering your customers so that you might recoup?

When I spoke to the customer service cashier, you know-at the first window please, she said she hears these complaints all day long but there isn't anything she can do about it. She also told me that she has to hear it every time I do! More on this in a second. Well, now holding up the drive-thru interminably, I asked at the second window of course, to please speak to the boss. The manger was Hispanic and spoke good English but I wasn’t sure she got the full measure of my annoyance. She listened to my griping and was most apologetic for the irritating tape and suggested I contact you there at the corporate arches, so here it is!

This tape thing is a pain in the, well you know, and I wonder if you have any real metrics on sales that could possibly justify pestering all of your customers so? Man look, it causes unnecessary
consternation and makes my brain have to think about this tape BEFORE I even get some coffee. Are you kidding me? And the poor girl inside: she told me she has to hear it every time for every car. This sounds like Abu Ghraib or something, the poor girl has to be non compos mentis by the end of the first hour. Do you realize how many freaking cars go through the Drive Thru every single morning? She can’t possibly be being paid enough to endure this kind of anguish! She also told me she hears a lot of complaints about this too! I was wondering too, do you get a lot of these letters?

With a magical and powerfully iconic company as you Ronald have built, and one so loved by the American People, won't you please "Give Us a Break Today" and nix the annoying solicitation? It's much better to have your wonderful people just take our orders and save us that negative moment just as we place our order for our Mickey D’s as only McDonald's can do. Ronald, my brain thanks you in advance for your consideration.


Burger Loyalist

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Positioning of the Mind The McD's 100m Ad Campaign

As stated by Al Reis and Jack Trout in their classic text..."Marketing is in it's essence Positioning of the Mind."
This is a fundamental law of the land and the McD's, DD's and the Sbux of the world have beaucoup $$$ to position themselves in the consumer mind and create position that we in the specialty business only dream of.

A lot of life in the USA is about money, particularly as we all face this incredibly challenging economic environment, and while I wholeheartedly agree with MAtt that quality first and always will serve us all well consumers do not always know what quality is.

I have lived this. For a couple of years I had our coffee in some local Costco stores. We we offering prime specialty beans at a very, I say VERY competitive price just about the time when Dunkin Donuts came out with their coffee push and had John Goodman telling all of us that "America runs on Dunkin." We did road shows and demos until our grinding burs wore down! We promoted at the local level and sold about 800lbs of coffee a week in a couple of stores. We had to maintain $500.00/week to keep our pallet spots in the stores. Now before all of you espresso weilding freaksd jump on me and say that isn't specialty please allow me to bring another dog to that fight on another day. In america most people drink brewed coffee and the beans we were selling we everybit as specialty and sweet as anything coming from your portafilters! It was just brewed coffee rather than espresso. That said, we worked our little assess off at great expense to gain even a tiny tiny fraction of the coffee share in the Atlanta market. When we left the coffee alone in the store with no demos, no support, the sales plummeted. But, even while we were there trying to eak out $500.00week (Costco's Minimum for any pallet space) Dunkin was selling at a clip of $1,500-3,000 wk with no demos, no sampling no nothing xcept those orange and purple bags sitting on an endcap and people threw them into their carts like
they were the only coffee on earth. Did we make our minimums, sure..barely but the coffee we were selling was so far superior to the Proctor and Gambel Folger roasted Dunkin Donut coffee that was flying ou of there it wasn't even a fair fight in terms of quality. We had them licked hands down! I even offered one of the store managers a blind taste contest promo to the customers (which of course he declined) to try and prove my point. So to digress, yes, quality matters a lot and again I say MAtt is absolutely right. Buy Quality, hold quality and service quality at all cost, but be aware perception of the mind of the consumer is what is key. We little Specialty coffee people are up against it. I m not sure I have a dog big enough to get into the Starbucks/MickyD fight. Matt didn't mention that Howard Schultz has also launched a huge advertizing campaign to fend off the attack declaring " It isn't just coffee, it's Starbucks!" And as you are probably aware for years Starbucks absolutely abhored the media advertising game, and really didn't need to pay it to much attention because they were the only game in town. Problem now of cours is that Ronald and the boys have now bought a stake to play and they have a lot of freaking chips.

Point is this. Quality is great but when Dunkin, or McD's or Sbux can waylay the consumer with far reaching ad budgets the consumer becomes "positioned" to think that this is what quality is and sadly many times feel no need to look any further.

Remember Juan Valdez...."Colombian Coffee is the Richest Coffee In The World" and so many still buy that madison avenue masterstroke of marketing genius.

"Brew Unto Others"


Tuesday, February 17, 2009