March 23, 2016

A Big McMór Mistake For Irish Food Producers

This weeks' post comes courtesy of my colleague Anne Tannam, guest contributor and Brand Manager at Islandbridge.

For the last few weeks, Dublin city has been awash with advertisements for the Big McMór burger.
It's much the same advertisement that was used last summer but this time around, there's no mention of the word 'artisan'. 

In September last year, McDonalds, having fallen foul of the Food Safety Authority, was forced to remove that misleading tag, but the image still promises us a gourmet experience, with the best and freshest of local produce.

Mór Irish Than The Irish Themselves

Two well-known Irish food brands, Ballymaloe and Charleville (the latter, ironically, not produced in Ireland) are featured in the ad. For the McDonald's brand, they are the perfect accompaniment to their product, giving it the much coveted 'Irish' flavour and the promise of good food prepared with care and attention (I'm smiling as I write this, having spent a summer, many moons ago, working in McDonalds, cheerfully lashing layers of ingredients into burger buns!).

In Too Much Of A McFlurry

Commercially, it's understandable why both Ballymaloe and Charleville were caught up in the flurry to promote their product and increase sales. From a brand perspective however, it's a disaster. McDonalds is all about fast food, the faster the better. Great Irish food producers are all about slow food, 'the good things in life take time' food. Ballymaloe in particular, comes from the home of the Slow Food Movement  in Ireland, and McDonalds is the antithesis of what the movement stands for.

Mór Is Less

My fridge generally contains at least two Ballymaloe products and I regularly buy Charleville cheese. The reality is that now, both brands are somewhat diminished in my eyes and feel 'less' Irish to me than they did before I knew they were key ingredients in the McMór. Brand is all about the story and for McDonalds, being perceived as being somehow Irish is a happy ever after ending for them. For Irish Food Producers however, being perceived as 'Fast Food' is a chapter they may wish they hadn't written.

Over To You

What's your view on this? Can you think of any other Irish food brands that are playing loose and easy with their brand story or even better, Irish food brands that are getting the story just right? We'd love to hear from you.

Anne works alongside Gerard and the team at Islandbridge Brand Development to help our clients develop a brand framework within which they can build new relationships and strengthen existing ones to gain competitive edge and grow their business. 

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