McDonald's unveils touching Happy Meal ad as earnings fall short of estimates

In the wake of news that its quarterly sales are down, McDonald’s is exploring the special relationship children have with its trademark red Happy Meal box in its latest campaign from TBWA\Paris.

The tradition of McDonald’s Happy Meal box has been around since 1979. The fast-food giant is now exploring how children have tugged at their parents' sleeves since then, directing them towards McDonald’s to get a Happy Meal and toy to play with.

Understanding that the Happy Meal has been a cherished component of McDonald’s offering for a long time, TBWA\Paris wanted to capture the story surrounding its box as a tradition passed on from generation to generation and find a way of celebrating it.

To do so, the French agency has created a short film that depicts a young boy who carts around a red Happy Meal Box given to him by his grandmother. The box becomes part of the kid’s daily life, as he uses it to collect bits and piece from his world; soap bubbles, pebbles, good test marks, laughter and his mother’s perfume scent stored safely inside.

When he returns to his grandmother’s home, he shows her the keepsakes he has meticulously chosen and kept carefully in the box. The items were in fact collected with the sole purpose of being shared – and the campaign name 'Childhood Inside' becomes clear.

Falling short of estimates

The European campaign arrives in the wake of McDonald’s releasing its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday (23 October), which fell below expectations and caused its share prices to drop 5%.

For the first time in two years, the brand's US quarterly earnings fell short of Wall Street estimates. While sales at US restaurants grew 4.8% in the third quarter, it had been expected it to be closer to 5.2%. This was down from the second quarter, where sales growth was 5.7%.

While net income fell about 2%, total revenue for the quarter grew to $5.43bn.

McDonald's said it is improving its technology ,a long-term growth strategy that has eaten away at its sales in the short-term.

McDonald's chief executive Steve Easterbrook also put the losses down to "some of the work we've done simplifying our menu" admitting it had received some resistance, especially about removing the signature crafted sandwiches.

He also acknowledged the competition: "We are in a competitive market whether it's breakfast or rest of day, we fighting for our share." It's 'safer' menu is being blamed, as while competitors like Burger King and Dunkin' are adding plant-based options to their menus, this is only available in McDonald's international locations.

The fast-food chain's losses had also been put down to promotion failures which it said hadn't lured US customers away from competition.

While its stock has a market share of $156bn, which is up 14% this year, that trails behind Burger King's parent company Restaurant Brands International, which gained 31% so ar in 2019, giving it a market share of $31bn.

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