Retail Brand Innovation – McDonald's to launch in-store TV channel

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Retail Branding in Living Colour
McDonald’s in the US is set to launch an in-store TV channel featuring; local school sports, movie previews and heartwarming human interest stories

In the world of entertainment, niche programming is a concept with growing popularity – but when it comes to branding, niche focus is nothing new. What’s fresh here is the combination of the two concepts to create a digital network of exclusive, original content targeted at customers eating in McDonalds’ restaurants.

The real smarts is in the customization of content programming to the specific communities located around the individual store, and will include ‘local news and entertainment features, such as spotlights on upcoming films, albums and TV shows’.

McDonald’s TV is a reflection of brands developing more sophisticated and broader digital strategies Creating one’s own content platform to speak directly with your customers in an environment uncluttered by other media is a real opportunity for brands to forge another level of connection with customers. “People today are using our restaurants differently than they have in the past,” said Danya Proud, a spokeswoman for McDonald’s USA. “They’ve become more of a destination. With McDonald’s restaurants offering Wi-Fi, we’ve become more relevant and contemporary.”

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For retailers like McDonald’s, apart of their challenge is to create Gesture for Good not Evil.” href=””>brand spaces where customers choose to linger – a concept so successfully mastered by Starbucks with their ‘third place’ coffee spaces.With around 70% of McDonalds’ business being drive-through customers in the US,  the new TV channel approach has the potential to make their restaurants more than just a place to grab a quick meal. The TV concept will offer encouragement to spend time with families and friends in McDonalds’ restaurants, reconnecting with customers in a way the brand has been loosing relevance.

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McDonalds TV programming will be approached with genuine intent. Word is the brand has signed-up reality TV guru Mark Burnett (Survivor & The Apprentice), BBC America and KABC-TV Eyewitness News are reportedly also on-board to provide content for the new network. The content will be shown in one-hour cycles consisting of installments or “pods” lasting around 20 minutes. Pods will include content such as ‘The McDonald’s Achievers’, profiling local high school and college athletes; ‘Mighty Moms’, focusing on local moms juggling home life with careers; ‘McDonald’s Channel Music News’ featuring content on musical acts, tours and new releases; and a fashion, art, music, night life, lifestyle and culture news program called ‘Vimby’.

Dining areas in each store are to be fitted with high-definition 42- to 46-inch screens visible from 70 percent of eating areas. Audio will be broadcast through the screen and ceiling speakers with quiet zones for those who do not want to see or hear the channel.

Dave Ansett, Brandamentalist
Retail Brand Designer
& TV aficionado
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