In their seemingly unending quest to make Ronald McDonald the biggest celebrity spokesman in the world, McDonald’s has expanded its global brand to include Norway. The company seems to have won over its employees, as the results of a survey conducted in 2011 by the Great Place to Work Institute, lists the company as the fifth best company to work for in Norway. They have also adapted their menu to suit the country’s love of fish dishes.
Along with oil, fishing is one of Norway’s largest industries. With roughly 83,000 kilometres (52,000 mi) of coastline the Norwegian people have a long tradition as fishermen. Accordingly, McDonald’s added the McLaks to their menu. The grilled salmon sandwich offers a taste of traditional Norwegian fare and an alternative to the Filet-O-Fish. The McDonald’s brand has a good track record with adding menu items that are specific to a country’s dietary traditions. Other international items include:
- The McKebab-Israel
- The McLobster Sandwich-Canada
- The Maharaja Mac (vegetarian)-India
- The McRice-Asia
The company’s Norwegian website also makes an attempt at integrating McDonald’s into the Norwegian community by highlighting the fact that McDonald’s Norway uses beef, potatoes and other raw materials grown by local farmers. This is a good strategy, but misses out on a huge opportunity to involve Norway’s fishing community.
McDonald’s should implement an integrated campaign that embraces the fishing industry. The first step would be to build a blog on the site (there currently isn’t one) to include posts about Mcdonald’s and that would announce a contest for Norway’s best fish recipe. The McLaks could be the foundation of the recipe, and the contest would serve to reintroduce and re-energize the product. McDonald’s could play upon the fact that they are looking to incorporate Norwegian culture into their menu. Norwegians are always looking for ways to differentiate themselves from other Nordic countries.
Entries could also be made on Facebook and photos and videos from users should be highly encouraged. The McDonald’s blog would highlight some of the contest’s more interesting entries, thus driving traffic from the site to the contest itself, and vice versa.
The contest would end with the rolling out of the new menu item, and media appearances by the winner. Coupons for a free sample of the new menu item should also be offered on Facebook and the McDonald’s website.
Mcdonald’s is missing out on a key opportunity to appeal to Norwegians who may have shied away from McDonald’s preferring traditional foods. It is important that the brand’s focus should always remain on the fact that McDonald’s supports the local economy as well as the local culture.