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Lo-res_mhhe023829-SFor the first time in several years, McDonald’s is tinkering with the packaging in which it serves its burgers, fries, and drinks. Rather than the existing red-and-white logos, the new packaging features bright and fashionable colors, a bold font, and a playful variety of font sizes. The goal, according to one senior marketing executive, is to emphasize the fast food chain’s brand image: “McDonald’s is a fun and modern brand and this was a progressive way to turn our packaging into art and support a community where fashion is an expression.”

But the packaging is more than just some pretty colors. It also offers increasing percentages of recycled materials. By 2020, McDonald’s plans to include only recycled input for its bags, boxes, and cups.

Although the change is evident and exciting, especially for loyal customers, some observers suggest that it represents a poor investment, such that the money could be better spent in other ways. Unlike consumer goods on grocery store shelves, McDonald’s products do not need to rely on their packaging to attract people’s attention. Therefore, perhaps a better investment would have been to spend more on menu development (see our previous abstracts about McDonald’s efforts in new product development for further information).

In modern times though, the fast food standby wants to ensure its modern image—something that its traditional packaging might have prevented.

Discussion Question:

  1. Is McDonald’s repackaging initiative a good investment or not? Explain your answer.

Source: Polly Mosendz, “McDonald’s Revamps Packaging, Seeking a More Modern Look,” Newsweek, January 7, 2016

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