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Big Mac please - heavy on the green

During a recent trip to France I was intrigued to see that McDonald's had abandoned its usual yellow on red design of the golden arches to yellow on green.

I decided that the aesthetic French had perhaps said “do it our way or it’s no way” - but when I investigated this upon my return, I found out that it had all started in Germany in 2009 when the exteriors went green to denote respect for the environment.  

However, this is by no means an empty marketing exercise. 

You may recall that some years ago there was criticism of McDonald's for being environmentally unfriendly. This encouraged the company to adopt  all round greener practices,  and  I was fascinated to read about their ongoing commitment to the environment.

For 2011/2012 their aspirational goal was “To have the most environmentally efficient restaurants in the world” and to achieve this they have rolled out several initiatives in parts or all of Europe under a four part action plan:
  1. .       Fighting climate change
  2. .       Protecting natural resources, reducing pollution and waste
  3. .       Guiding suppliers to reduce their impact and
  4.        Promoting responsible behaviour to their customers

This includes the implementation of a best practice energy saving handbook across Europe; as well as energy tracking software in Spain, Photovoltaic panels in Portugal and the roll out of innovative led lighting.  It is impressive reading – pop onto and scroll down to “key initiatives” if you’d like to know more.

So there you go. No matter how big and successful you are – it all starts with your target audience – and in McDonald's case that’s the increasingly environmentally concerned citizens of about 120 countries on six continents.  No pressure there then.

P.S. If you like reading about real life marketing you might enjoy this post on Costa Coffee, this one on the British Heart Foundation, this post on Ocado and this on ...of all things...The Cats Protection organisation

Thanks to Erik Daniel Drost for his Flickr photograph

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