McDonald’s brand audit – Tears of the clown

Tears of a clown
Tears of a clown

It’s pretty hard to knock the smile off Ronald McDonald’s face. The clown character, used as the primary mascot of legendary US fast-food chain McDonald’s since 1966, has kept beaming through wars, economic collapses and occasional food scares.

But Ronald’s upbeat look on life may soon be facing its biggest ever test if his new boss, Brit Steve Easterbrook, can’t arrest the alarming sales decline recorded by the group over the last few years.

The figures are stark: 2011 was a strong year – a 5.6 per cent rise in global comparable sales growth and total revenues of $27,006 million. Such annual growth, apart from a wobble early in the new century, was very much the typical pattern since McDonald’s was founded in 1948.

But despite total sales climbing to $27,567 million in 2012, comparable sales growth dropped to 3.1 per cent.

In the next instalment of the McDonalds brand audit, we hear from Easterbrook, the former head of the company’s UK and European divisions and who took on the group’s president and chief executive role this March…