• PTC Proposes Solution to McDonalds’ Financial Troubles

    by  • April 25, 2014 • Advertiser Accountability • 2 Comments

    It’s not a coincidence that at the same time McDonalds abandoned its family focus, sales started to decline.



    In a letter to McDonalds, the Parents Television Council reported that the company’s advertising practices are among the worst in the country. The company’s ads often sponsor violent or sexually graphic television programming, despite that in previous years it was among the PTC’s “best” advertisers.

    In the letter to Don Thompson, president and CEO of McDonalds, PTC President Tim Winter writes:

    “In just the past month, McDonalds has sponsored some of the very worst broadcast content with its advertising dollars, including:


    “The juxtaposition of this historically family brand with such graphic and disturbing content is jarring, to say the least, but it is not an anomaly. It is consistent with a long-term trend that we have observed with great concern for the last few years.

    “In 2007, the PTC ranked McDonalds ranked as one of the ten best television sponsors because of its avoidance of graphically violent, profane, or sexually explicit programming. For the past three years, McDonalds has ranked among the worst TV sponsors.

    “I think it is not a coincidence that at the same time McDonalds abandoned its family focus, sales started to decline.

    “I think you know from McDonalds’ own track record, that when you pursue family audiences and a family-friendly ad strategy, none of your competitors can touch you. Just a few years ago — before McDonalds changed its advertising strategy and family focus — sales outstripped the next-closest competitor by $20 billion. At the time, QSR Magazine reported, ‘If Subway were suddenly to merge with Burger King and Starbucks, McDonalds would still rank No. 1.’

    “Mr. Thompson, I believe McDonalds can improve its fortunes by returning to a family focus.”

    Just yesterday, McDonalds reported that its earnings continued to decline.

    In the letter, the PTC enclosed a copy of research findings from the Association of National Advertisers’ Alliance for Family Entertainment, which found that the context of the program has a significant impact on viewers’ perceptions of advertising. An additional 10.7% of the audience improved their opinion about purchasing a brand when the ad was placed in a “family friendly” program versus a program with adult themed content.

    In addition, proprietary research from America’s biggest retailer, Walmart, found an 18% improvement in performance of an ad when the ad was placed in a positive program as opposed to a negative program. Researchers at Iowa State University also found that viewers are less likely to recall the products advertised if the ad appears in the context of a program that contains high levels of sex and violence.

    The PTC created a web page for McDonalds so that the company can review what programs its ad purchases can be found on. It’s available at this link: www.parentstv.org/McDonalds.

    The full letter can be found here: http://w2.parentstv.org/MediaFiles/PDF/General/PTC_ltr_McD_2014_04_04.pdf .



    2 Responses to PTC Proposes Solution to McDonalds’ Financial Troubles

    1. MT
      May 31, 2014 at 7:35 am

      This stuff is funny .. McDonalds sales decline for much different reasons. For example .. This current generation is group that lives on dollar menu, which in this climate is difficult to sustain .. At any establishment. Furthermore McDonalds has beyond anything else been impacted by the surge in competitors offering different options deemed more “healthy”. Families stopped spending so much time at McDonald’s when it was determined there was now healthy food .. In turn with the healthy food movement this country is under going .. Hello people .. So why would it make sense to continue advertising to a group or demographic rather that will not purchase it’s products no matter the amount spent on advertising to them! McDonalds will never win with the public no Matrer what it does .. It is too big and people in this Country as a mass are ignorant to the big picture.. In almost everything.

    2. MK
      April 30, 2014 at 8:39 am

      Take heed, McDonalds!

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