How McDonald’s Got a Vegetarian Follower

McDonald’s Potato Supplier, Frank Martinez

Regardless of how you feel about McDonald’s, the role it plays in the global obesity epidemic, or its uncanny ability to sell fast food in a country dominated by vegetarians, you must admit their content marketers are genius at humanizing its brand with genuinely compelling stories.  They even convinced a red meat hater to follow them on Twitter.

Français : Un MacDonald's, un KFC et un Pizza ...

McDonald’s, KFC and a Pizza Hut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Red meat has not crossed my lips in over 12 years, I don’t eat pork, and my cravings for chicken and seafood have fallen by the wayside over the last few years.  However, I, like many Gen-Xers, grew up consuming tons of fast food.  Unfortunately, by the time I was 24, I was 60 pounds overweight because of a diet that consisted of frozen mystery meat, fried chicken, bum busting tacos and burritos, and all the soda and Tampico (the ramen of juices) a girl could drink.

When I stumbled across the mini documentary above on McDonald’s Twitter page last year, I was not a follower because I don’t support their mission.

In fact, I believe all fast food chains contribute to poor diet/health, food addiction and a lifetime dependency on an even worse bandit, pharmaceuticals – a fact aptly documented in the infamous Super Size Me documentary.

However, after watching the video above, I was moved by its authenticity.  Instead of using annoying ads or tired commercials of sizzling beef and salty fries, McDonald’s chose to engage its audience by telling the story of a US potato farmer named Frank Martinez.  In less than three minutes, McDonald’s convinced me to support their mission again because they painted a completely different picture of a brand I had come to despise by artfully integrating themes that were both educational and inspiring, like:

  • the critical role of U.S. family farms
  • food security
  • the economic power of immigrants
  • realizing the American dream
  • dignity, human spirit and pride

McDonald’s Mini-Doc ROI

If McDonald’s measured the ROI of its supplier videos based on my actions, I’d have to say this tactic worked to convert a lapsed customer and vegetarian!  In return for a well made video less than three minutes long, McDonald’s received user generated content and further promotion of its brand through a:

  • new Twitter and Facebook follower
  • positive comment on its Facebook page about the video
  • RT of video to 300+ followers
  • YouTube channel subscriber
  • like on all supplier videos
  • large order of french fries purchased on every road trip
  • loyal french fry customer
  • post featuring the video on content marketing blog

Engaging Visual Content

I’d like to leave you with another example of how visual content can be used to engage an audience beyond videos and images.  Whiteboard animations and video scribing translate live and/or recorded spoken word into animated illustrations and are gaining ground as a novel storytelling tool.  Inspired by artist like Flash Rosenberg and popularized by RSA Animate, these types of visual presentations are being used by major brands like Coca-Cola as an alternative to a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation.

Have you stumbled across any novel ways brands are using visual content to tell their story?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments section.



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