Monday, April 13, 2009


The advertising coming out of McDonald's Sweden continues to both amuse and baffle me. It is so quirky and so un-McDonalds-like that if you took away the logo, you'd never guess that it was from McD's. This print ad is composed of a bunch of one-liners - obviously scripted in the wee hours after a night on the town. When have you come across McDonald's copy such as "What's your name? Can I sleep with you?" or "Anyone that sleeps with me gets a free DVD".

And in case you missed these 2008 beauties, you have to take a look. These ads are a Swedish mashup of Dunkin Donuts meets Burger King meets IKEA meets the Brothers Grimm (ok, they were German). It's even weirder than that - you be the judge.

So how does McDonald's Sweden get away with these ads? I understand that you cannot advertise to kids in Sweden, so your communications and brand messaging strategy will be different. Global brands are constantly trying to strike the right balance between global brand consistency and local relevance. Yet, these seem way off the core brand positioning and personality.

I'm not sure what the folks in Chicago at McD's corporate are saying about their colleagues in Sweden. (Would love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation!)

Here is some McD's Sweden trivia in case you are interested:

McDonald's Sweden recently introduced charging posts for electrically powered vehicles.

McD's Sweden is known for their environmental responsibility leadership in the QSR world - no small feat in Europe.

I think my favourite, though, is the first Ski-thru located in Lindvallen. Even Starbucks doesn't have that that.


  1. Karin,

    I did a post about some Burger King ads that were running in Europe last summer. The approach was *very* different than what we've seen in the U.S. (that's even taking into consideration the random, scary Burger King ads they've been doing).

    Take a look...

    I don't understand why brands take a completely different approach when advertising in a different country.

    (For example, at Starbucks in the US we called Christmas: "Holiday" to be P.C. So we could say "Happy Holiday!" But in Europe, holiday means vacation. So saying "Happy Vacation" wouldn't get the seasonal message across.)Back to my point...

    Sure, the language or words to communicate a concept may differ. (But the idea behind a concept stays the same).

    Yes, you need to be relevant to the target audience in that market... and need to say things in a way that connects with them in *their* culture...

    But I don't understand why a completely different approach is taken.

    If you took the animated logo at the end of these spots, we would have NO idea what the brand was. (Sure, they're funky ads supposed to be the stuff you see when you dream...)

    It just has never seemed efficient to me to have a completely different approach simply because you're in a land where the language is different... [That's over-simplified, but you get the point].

  2. Paul - Thanks for leaving a comment. I followed the link to your Burger King post, laughed so hard my dog came over to see what was the matter. YOU are TOO funny.

    Indeed, what were they thinking!