Sunday, May 13, 2012

Evaluation of McDonalds' Advertisement

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1. Introduction


The role of advertising and other forms of promotion is constantly changing in the modern world of marketing. Today, many companies integrate their advertising efforts with a variety of other communication techniques to ensure the attraction and retention of existing and potential customers through effective delivery of messages. In this assignment, I have chosen a McDonalds TV advertisement for in-depth analyzing. The purpose of this assignment is to understand how McDonalds implemented its communication strategy to reach its target audience and the main objective is to evaluate the strategies that McDonalds had used in its TV advertisement to reassure and predispose its target audience.


. Background of the Advertisement


I had seen this TV advertisement in Singapore during my summer vacation last year. It was frequently shown on Channel 5, Channel 8 and Channel U (i.e.English and Mandarin channels) and usually, the advertisement would be shown between 8pm to 10 pm (the ‘Golden Viewing Slots’ in Singapore). The length of the Ad is about 0 seconds long.


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.1 Description of Advertisement


The first scene showed several children running happily across the grassland towards a school when they heard the bell ring. In the next scene, a picture (drawn by one of the children) attached to the wall is shown. The picture shows a little girl standing in the center with digits ‘1’ to ‘4’ right above her. Next, the teacher starts teaching and she writes ‘1’ on the whiteboard. The children follow her and write ‘1’ on their own tiny cardboard and raise it up to show their teacher. The satisfied teacher goes on to write ‘’ and likewise, the children follow her. The teacher then writes ‘’ and this time round, the children scratch their heads and appear that they do not understand what their teacher is writing (here, you can hear one of the kids says ‘Uh-oh’). Among the confusion of the digit ‘’, one of the little boys smile and tilts his head to the right (here, you can hear the kids saying ‘Oh...’ and a happy tune is played). Everybody follows him and tilts their heads and the next scene shows a tilting whiteboard with a ‘horizontal’ digit ‘’ (which becomes a ‘m’). The children laugh and write ‘m’ on their cardboard and raise it up to show to their teacher. The amazed teacher stares at them, smiles and tilts her head to the right like the little children, and accepts the ‘m’ as a ‘’. At the end of the commercial, the tag line ‘ ҢҢGˬˎˬס‘ (i.e. Chinese characters) is shown at the bottom right hand corner with McDonald’s symbol. This line means that McDonalds would bring laughter into every second of a kid’s life.


(Refer to Appendices I for storyboard of the Advertisement)


. Target Audience


From the TV advertisement, I reckon that the primary target audience would be children aged between to 1 years old (regardless of race and gender). However, since young children do not have any purchasing power, the TV advertisement also targets at a group of secondary target audiences.


This group of secondary target audience includes teenagers aged between 1 to 1 years old as well as parents.


I think that the target market is appropriate for this advertisement that I have chosen. Firstly, the primary target audience is pretty obvious as seen from the TV advertisement. In the advertisement, we can see little young children (probably aged between 4 to 7 years old) attending school and learning how to write. They are the main focus in the advertisement. Young children would be attracted to this advertisement because the nature and content of the advertisement actually relates to their everyday life (i.e. attending school and writing numbers). Before the airing of this advertisement, I believe that children are unable to recognize and distinguish the inverted ‘’ as the symbol of McDonalds. Now, children are able to identify McDonalds through the learning process as well as relate its symbol to their everyday life.


This advertisement also targets teenagers aged between 1 to 1 years old. This age group is the frequent patrons of McDonalds as they seek convenience in their purchases. Taking myself as an example, I remember that I was deeply attracted to this advertisement as it touches on my childhood memories. The advertisement somehow acts as a ‘time-machine’ and brings me back to my childhood days (i.e. the first time I learn to write ‘’, attending school, discover new things etc…).


The advertisement also targets parents as ultimately, they are the ones with the purchasing power. In this advertisement, the image of McDonalds is tied to the educational aspect and this seems as an encouraging factor for parents to make purchases (i.e. the advertisement encourages children to learn).


. Effectiveness of Advertisement Strategy


This advertisement has employed ‘signs and symbols’ (Chmielewski, 00 Lecture 8) to generate additional meaning for McDonalds. For instance, the advertisement employed ‘’ (a sign) and used its inverted form to generate the symbol of McDonalds (‘m’ � a symbol). It is obvious that the symbol of McDonalds is the alphabet ‘M’. The advertisement further derived the symbol’s meaning from the digit ‘’, thus enabling children to identify McDonalds even when they are learning. The perception used would hence generate affective feelings from the target audience to stimuli evoked within them when presented with either the digit ‘’ or ‘m’. The advertisement also has a comparative advantage by attaching the image of McDonalds with an educational aspect (i.e. learning process). (Refer to Appendices II for Semiotic Analysis of the Advertisement)


.1 Effectiveness in Capturing Attention


The advertisement is also attention grabbing as compared to other fast food advertisements shown then. Firstly, the advertisement made use of novel and intense stimuli to capture the attention of the target audience (Chmielewski, 00 Lecture ). The stimulus generated is unexpected (i.e. from a digit ‘’ to the McDonald’s symbol ‘M’). No product of McDonalds is shown throughout the advertisement (which makes it distinguishable from other fast food advertisements). Happy and exciting music is used and the advertisement employs excellent colours usage (i.e. bright, brilliant and cheery). The advertisement is also depicted under the slice of life category whereby attending school and the learning process is a daily routine expected of all children.


Secondly, the advertisement is pretty easy to comprehend which leads to the understanding of the stimulus. Features of the advertisement include a group of cute enthusiastic children, a pretty teacher and the background gives the advertisement a ‘school feel’ (i.e. blackboard, magic pens, drawings pinned on the walls). McDonalds stands at an advantage by presenting its brand through the learning process (i.e. educational aspect).


The mood created in the advertisement is pretty relaxed and soothing. For instance, children are eager and happy to learn how to write. At the same time, children can discover ‘new knowledge’ through learning (from digit ‘’ to symbol ‘m’). Hence, a happy and fun atmosphere is created. The advertisement also helps to display the children’s na├»ve charm and reflects their enthusiasm towards learning which in return, enables consumers to react to the advertisement positively as well as to remember the advertisement.


Thirdly, children would accept the comprehension of the message whereby learning is an enjoyable process with McDonalds close to your heart because the message delivered is credible (i.e. the fact that an inverted ‘’ is the symbol of McDonalds). The advertisement is also compatible with values (i.e. learning is important and creative) that are important to the audience.


. CPM & HEM Needs


I think that the advertisement emphasizes on both CPM and HEM needs (Chmielewski, 00 Lecture ). It emphasizes on CPM in a sense that everyone knows that McDonalds is a fast food restaurant (i.e. satisfy physiological needs). However, on the other hand, the advertisement appeals to the feelings of enjoyable and fun times in school and at the same time, a bond between the children and McDonalds is established through the learning process. The advertisement also induces purchase decisions in the anticipation of sensory stimulation.


. The Role of Persuasion


I personally think that the advertisement that I have chosen did not employ much persuasion techniques. However, the advertisement did engage an indirect source (Belch & Belch, 001/004) to draw attention and further enhanced itself (i.e. use of adorable children and classroom environment).


..1 Source Attributes (Attractiveness)


The advertisement has applied similarity (Chmielewski, 00 Lecture 10) to influence the viewers’ attitude and behaviour. After seeing the advertisement, children would be motivated to employ the same studying attitude like those kids in the commercial and also relate themselves to McDonalds. Young viewers are more likely to accept the message and be reminded of McDonalds because the characters used, circumstances and environment as seen from the advertisement are similar to their everyday lives. In this slice of life commercial, a bond between the communicator (i.e. those children) and the primary receiver is established and viewers are also likely to identify the enjoyable learning process and understand the happiness (i.e. when those children are reminded of McDonalds through the digit ‘’) as revealed in the advertisement.


.. ELM


It is obvious that McDonalds has engaged the peripheral route to persuasion (Chmielewski, 00 Lecture 11) in the advertisement because no products are actually shown throughout the airing of the advertisement. The music, setting and characters used are totally unrelated to McDonalds.


.. What If…


I think that the advertisement would be more effective if it applied likability (Belch & Belch, 001/004) with the use of celebrity endorsement. For instance, in Singapore, there is this celebrity (LiPing, Chen) and she always acts as a role of a teacher in various dramas. Every child likes her and most parents believe that she would bring good influence upon their children (i.e. educational role). If LiPing is the teacher in the advertisement, LiPing would further help to draw more attention and favorably influence the children’s feelings, attitudes and parent’s purchasing behaviours (i.e. she has the stopping power). Parent’s perceptions of McDonalds would also be enhanced (i.e. most parents usually think that McDonald’s advertisements would bring bad influence to the child) and message credibility would also increase. (Refer to Appendices III)


.4 Creativity of Advertisement


As seen from the advertisement, it generates fresh, unique and appropriate ideas through the conversion and relation of digit ‘’ to McDonald’s symbol ‘M’. The two major selling ideas are that McDonalds ‘lives’ in every child’s heart and that McDonalds relates itself to the children’s everyday life. This appeal is definitely effective to its target audience because children are able to ‘live’ with the message.


The advertisement is simple and easy to comprehend. The advertisement has implemented the ‘resonance strategy’ (Chmielewski, 00 Lecture 1) whereby the setting and environment resonates the familiar situation of schooling and learning (i.e. involved in the children’s life). Memorability is hence resulted.


The advertisement is straightforward yet meaningful and it touches on viewers’ emotions. The advertisement also relates that children’s experience with McDonalds is enjoyable and educational and it evokes an association with its target audience (i.e. studying) and creates a strong emotional appeal within. Besides that, the words (i.e. ‘Uh-Oh’ & ‘Oh’) and lively music used also helped to create a positive mood that makes consumers more receptive towards the advertising message. (Refer to Appendices IV for the Ad’s Means-End Chain) The lightings, graphics, sound and colours are also cleverly employed (i.e. target audience would be attracted to bright colours and lively music).


Overall, a clear and convincing message is communicated and the creative approach is definitely appropriate for the target audience (Belch & Belch, 001/004). As mentioned, slice of life execution (Belch & Belch, 001/004) is also implemented and more emotions included in this advertisement would further help McDonalds to evoke a feel-good connection with consumers as well as to influence consumers’ interpretation of ‘The McDonald’s Experience’.


4. Improvements on Advertisement Campaign


In Singapore, McDonalds has already established a strong brand equity whereby people are familiar with the brand and through most of its advertisements and campaigns, favourable and unique associations in memory about McDonalds are developed.


For this advertisement chosen, I think that the appeal and response would be better if McDonalds incorporates sales promotions in the advertisement campaign. For instance, everybody knows that McDonalds provides ‘Happy Meal’ for children and consumers would be entitled a free toy. Perhaps after the airing of the commercial, McDonalds could continue to elaborate more about the current promotion. Elaboration of the sales promotion is as follows


Since the advertisement focuses primarily on children, McDonalds could perhaps give away free colouring books or picture books (i.e. free premium) with every ‘Happy Meal’ purchase. At the same time, McDonalds could also implement a ‘Drawing & Colouring Contest’ or a ‘Story-Telling Contest’ (i.e. Consumer-Oriented promotion). Consumers would be encouraged to send in their entries and both details and application forms for both contests would be found in the ‘Happy Meal’ box. McDonalds could also give away free balloons on weekends to help further stimulate entries.


The Contest could be held one month later so that the children would have sufficient preparation time. On the day of the contest, McDonalds could further incorporate more ‘ideas’. For instance, McDonalds could have magic shows and scavenger hunts whereby both parents and children could participate in. Balloons and sweets could be distributed too.


This sales promotion activity would further stimulate quick buyer action as parents (i.e. who hold the purchasing power) would be persuaded to make purchases as the gifts given are tied to educational aspects (i.e. learning process). It would also help to establish a closer bond between McDonalds and its target audience.


5. Conclusion


To conclude, I think McDonalds has been effective in reaching its target audience using educational aspect. They are also clever to play with ‘signs and symbols’ (i.e. ‘’ and ‘m’) and the focus on children on the advertisement further helps to establish a closer bond with the target audience. The advertisement is definitely attention grabbing which results in effective delivery of the message as well as the ability to cast a memorable experience in the minds of the target audience.


Bibliography


• Belch, George E. & Belch, Michael A (001/004), ‘Chapter Five The Communication Process’ in Advertising and Promotion An Integrated Marketing Communications Persepctive Sixth Edition, New York McGraw-Hill/Irwin


• Belch, George E. & Belch, Michael A (001/004), ‘Chapter Six Source, Message, and Channel Factors’ in Advertising and Promotion An Integrated Marketing Communications Persepctive Sixth Edition, New York McGraw-Hill/Irwin


• Belch, George E. & Belch, Michael A (001/004), ‘Chapter Sixteen Sales Promotion’ in Advertising and Promotion An Integrated Marketing Communications Persepctive Sixth Edition, New York McGraw-Hill/Irwin


• Belch, George E. & Belch, Michael A (001/004), ‘Chapter Nine Creative Strategy � Implementation & Evaluation’ in Advertising and Promotion An Integrated Marketing Communications Persepctive Sixth Edition, New York McGraw-Hill/Irwin


• Chmielewski, Danielle (00), ‘An Overview of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)’ in Lecture Four, The University Of Melbourne, 6th August 00


• Chmielewski, Danielle (00), ‘Communications and Buyer Behaviour (I)’ in Lecture Eight, The University Of Melbourne, 0th August 00


• Chmielewski, Danielle (00), ‘Communications and Buyer Behaviour (II)’ in Lecture Nine, The University Of Melbourne, 5th August 00


• Chmielewski, Danielle (00), ‘The Role Of Persuasion (I)’ in Lecture Ten, The University Of Melbourne, 7th August 00


• Chmielewski, Danielle (00), ‘The Role Of Persuasion (II)’ in Lecture Eleven, The University Of Melbourne, 1st September 00


• Chmielewski, Danielle (00), ‘Managing Creative Communications (I)’ in Lecture Twelve, The University Of Melbourne, rd September 00


• Chmielewski, Danielle (00), ‘Managing Creative Communications (II)’ in Lecture Thirteen, The University Of Melbourne, 8rd September 00


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