Fast-Food Research Shows McDonald's Still Number One

McDonald’s and Burger King remain America’s #1 and #2 most preferred fast-food chains, while Subway unseated Wendy’s in 2008 to nab the #3 spot, according to research on the quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry from Experian Simmons.

Other major chains in the top-10 rankings, which show preference trends over five years (2004-2008), are Taco Bell - which reclaimed its #4 spot after dropping to #5 in 2007, Wendy’s, which dropped from #3 to #5, KFC, Pizza Hut, Arby’s and Dairy Queen.
The proliferation of QSR chains in the US also has caused “others” (an aggregation of the many smaller chains) to hold a significant market share as well, the research found.

Niche Chains on the Rise
The rankings also show that three QSR chains - Chipotle , Jamba Juice, and Panera Bread - are relative new comers to the market, yet have become an important force in the QSR market by carving out a specialized niche with their offerings. Chipotle has risen from #57 in 2004 to #26 in 2008, while Jamba Juice has jumped #58 to #38 and Panera Bread has climbed steadily from #29 to #18 in the same time period.

Dramatic Jump in QSR Visits
The average number of visits Americans make to quick service restaurants, which has held steady at approximately seven since 2004, substantially increased to 11 between 2007 and 2008. This, Experian Simmons suggests, may be caused by the current economic crisis.

Midwesterners Frequent QSRs Most
Overall, Midwesterners are most likely to eat at quick service restaurants, the research found.
The following table lists the likelihood of people in each of four US regions (Northeast, Midwest, South and West) to eat at the 13 fast food chains Experian Simmons reviewed. The table on the right illustrates the percentage of each region’s residents that eat at the quick service restaurants. Overall, Midwesterners have the highest percentage of visits to McDonald’s and several other major chains, while Northeasterners score highest with Burger King and Wendy’s.

Westerners frequent Taco Bell and “other” QSRs more than those in other regions. One reason they are more likely to eat at “other fast food restaurants” may be because the Western region has a number of quick service restaurants that aren’t present ?in other regions, said Experian Simmons.
Additional survey findings:
Men (115 Index) are more likely than women (87) to eat alone at a fast food restaurant.
Women are more likely to take their children below age 12 to a fast food chain during lunch than any other meal time (126).
Hispanic Americans are more likely than non-Hispanic Americans to go to a fast food chain with children during all meal times.
Americans aged 18-24 are three times more likely than older Americans to snack at a fast food chain with friends/co-workers.

Other research from the NPD Group finds that kids and young adults are visiting restaurants less because of the high cost and because of a perceived availability of less healthy choices. The study also finds that Baby Boomers’ restaurant use is increasing.

About the research: Data analysis is based on results from the Experian Simmons National Consumer Study/National Hispanic Consumer Studies conducted in the Fall of 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007, as well as the 2008 Full Year study.

An additional report that discusses the impact of the recession on family dining and QSRs also is available from Experian Simmons.

ÖBB Austria Railways – HOW OH! (Austria)

Agency name: PKP proximity
Client name: ÖBB Austria Railways
Category: Integrated Communication

Travelling by train is not hip among young Austrians.

The campaign target: to motivate young people to travel by train in their summer holidays and to sell 120,000 summer-tickets (+5% vs 2006).
The ÖBB summer-ticket is a special holiday-offer from the Austrian Railway company ÖBB for unlimited train use for € 19 (age <20)>

To motivate young Austrians to travel by train in their summer holidays.

To promote the ÖBB summer-ticket.To sell 120,000 ÖBB summer-tickets.

Taking the train is not the transport of first choice with young Austrians. But for most of them taking the train is their only realistic opportunity to travel in their holidays. We needed something or someone who would have credibility with the target group, and could say “'move your ass' and go out in summer! It's easy... With the lowest train-fares from ÖBB (Austrian Railways)”.

We created a new hero: the Canadian Indian „Howling Heoro Keese”. He became a real character with his own online platform, TV-show and events.

To approach young people in their own language two linked campaigns were set up:

  • a viral campaign to introduce the Indian
  • four weeks after the viral teaser campaign the TV-, Print- and Billboard campaign started with details of the offer and reservations on
Viral Campaign, My Space Site, GO TV, Print, Billboard, Citylights, TV Spot, Online,

The viral campaign was started by sticking cryptic yellow posters and stickers to walls and places where young people come together.

“The ear” as a symbol for the “hearing Indian” was created and myspace.com/how_oh went online.
On the website people learned about the “Free Culture Network” of a Canadian Indian called Howling Hearo Keese who knows everything about the 'in' places (cause he's “all-hearing”).
Basic Message: HOW OH! “Iroquois” meaning something in between “Get lost!” and meaning in Austrian dialect “get out of here!”

Key Visuals: “The ear” and Howling Hearo Keese
Only four weeks after the viral teaser campaign the TV-, Print- and Billboard campaign started with details of the offer and reservations on
www.inmotion.oebb.at.THE STAR & HEROE: Howlin hero Keese

An outstanding hero, connecting all media-channels (incl. direct marketing, viral, classic & guerilla) and a slogan as a new word-creation (HOW OH!) that's now in the mind of every young Austrian.

Pedigree::: Adoption Drive

DATE:Mar 2008 - Jul 2008

Pedigree was facing a huge problem, since the dog food market was being polarized between own label and premium brands. Pedigree was somewhere in the middle and did not have clear differentiating brand attributes.

The opportunity was to tell consumers, that Pedigree cares more about every single dog than any other manufacturer. In order to prove this, it created the Pedigree Adoption Drive and raised Awareness for dogs living in animal shelters.

The idea was to activate dog lovers to get them to become part of the Adoption Drive and create a dog rescue movement. Dog Lovers could become part of the movement, by donating money or by adopting a dog.
The first stage saw various rescue dogs profiled in all the big German newspapers, along with a telephone number for more information. Posters at gas stations on the freeway – notorious dumping grounds for unwanted pets – reminded people about the dogs’ plight. This was supported by TV ads.

The second step was to activate consumers to become a part of the movement, largely at point of sale. Images of local animal shelter dogs were displayed along with the message that with every purchase from Pedigree they support these dogs. People were driven to Pedigree.de in an online drive and there were many cases of editorial integration including reports of dogs who had found new homes. All of these homed dogs were shown on the Pedigree site.

The campaign achieved a short term sales growth of 8,6%.

Also the penetration of the brand increased about 4,8% for the first time in three years and remained on a higher level also after the campaign period.

Finally the target to donate €250k to animal shelters was smashed with a donation of €400k and the adoption rate increased about 20% during the period of the campaign

X-Men::: The Wolverine Buddy Poke

DATE:Mar 2009 - Apr 2009

To promote the premiere of Fox Film’s new film X Men Origins, the film studio wanted to take advantage of the popularity of social networking site Orkut.

One of the most popular applications on Orkut is The Buddy Poke. The Buddy Poke is essentially a greeting delivered by an avatar from one friend to another. Users can express themselves via the character.
For the purpose of the movie promotion, an avatar of Wolverine was created – the first time the application has been used by an advertiser. Users of the Wolverine Buddy Poke can be select two options – either “claws out” or “ask to respond” – to send to friends.

Having selected the greeting, their own avatar gets personalized to look more like wolverine – complete with huge claws and side burns.

Then a small animation of the newly wolfish avatar can be sent to a friend. The Buddy Poke is not branded with the name of the film at all – the idea is simply to make a subtle association with the film, which launches at the end of April.
The movie charts the violent and romantic past of Wolverine, from his complex relationship with

Audi::: Progressive vanguards

BRAND OWNER:Volkswagen
DATE:Mar 2008 - Dec 2008

High brand awareness for the Audi A8L was failing to convert into sales in China. Consumer research revealed that the Audi brand was perceived as old, conservative and government-related.

The car brand needed to communicate its new positioning of “Progressive Vanguards” to a niche audience of sophisticated business executives and hence boost sales.

We knew that this target market were confident in their own beliefs and ideals but conversely they were also keen to learn from other people’s success.
The solution was to create Audi’s own list of “Progressive Vanguards” and put their stories at the heart of the campaign.
Audi teamed up with leading business newspapers and periodicals to create Audi branded content where 24 leading businessmen from China and abroad would talk about the secrets of their success.
They included Steve Jobs from Apple, Ma Yun from Alibaba and Li Yan- Hong of Baidu. Readers were directed to their stories via eye- catching banners on the front page.
Special events and business conferences added another layer to the communication, encouraging readers to take a test drive.
Sales of the Audi A8L rose 35% year on year with a saving of 45% on a regular media buy.

Coca Cola:::Free yourself with a song

BRAND OWNER: The Coca Cola Company
CATEGORY:Drinks (non-alcoholic)
DATE:Jul 2008 - Aug 2008

Coca-Cola’s popularity among Malaysia youth was waning because of an explosion of healthier beverages and the fact that its advertising was being drowned out by the jumbo budgets of telecoms companies.
2008 was a tough year, with a deepening recession and a youthful rebellion against the ruling party. Coke needed to find a way of tapping into the stubbornly optimistic youth and establish itself as the drink that truly expressed the national mood.
2008 had seen the rise of two youth icons that had captivated the imagination of the country.
The first was Shila, an everyday girl from a small town, who rose from the streets to win the largest reality singing show on TV.

The second was Alam, the village underdog who won the biggest dance show. Coca Cola took the two icons, and signed up an iconic lyricist to create a music video –Free Yourself (or Bebaskan-lah in Malay) – where Coke was integrated as the fuel of refreshing liberation and positivity. Coke’s jingle was also laced into the fabric of the song.

The major advertising element was a TV commercial, but it also brought in radio and online. The video became self-propagating, with friends forwarding it to friends, posting it on blogs and on YouTube, colleagues showing it to each other and on-air requests creating a pull-mechanism. Bebaskan-lah! became the anthem of the times by plugging into and giving expression to the spirit of the period in a language that truly connected with youth – in a way that was so very uniquely Coca-Cola.

The campaign was hugely successful in sales terms, achieving a volume growth of 280,000 unit cases. Coca-Cola’s preference score hit a record five-year high, rising 177% across the year, overwhelming all other brands in the category put together. - The song itself reached No. 1 within 2 weeks and was also made a theme song for a popular local youth drama, A Story of Hope.


CATEGORY:Toiletries/ Cosmetics
REGION:South Africa
DATE:Jun 2008 - Nov 2008

Axe was worried its market share would remain static unless it targeted untapped demographics, including urban black youth aged 18-25. The problem was that Axe hadn’t spoken to this segment for 5 years and even then, the urban black youth didn’t relate to the Axe communication.

Axe needed to engage with this target group in a meaningful way without alienating current users. Axe realized that urban black youth didn’t identify with the Axe promise of ‘getting the girl’, because they were far more experienced. However, they would identify with getting the girl who everyone is afraid of approaching, the rich girl, aka the cheese-girl.

Axe decided to create a band called The Cheesegirls, who would release two songs. The first song trashed ghetto guys (known as Kasi). The second video paid tribute to Kasi guys because they have been wearing Axe and are therefore irresistible.
The activation was focused on radio (a key channel for the target), used PR as the hook and then changed the traditional role of TV. The track was launched through the sponsorship of an annual DJ conference and on radio. Listeners were invited to vote for their favourite mixed Cheesegirl track from the DJ conference.

The Cheesgirls were marketed as if they were a genuine pop sensation, getting interviews in music magazines and on TV. Axe was never linked to the band.

A PR set up saw the lead singer of the Cheesgirls ‘busted’ dating a Kasi guy. The band then organized ‘apology interviews’ which saw the band openly apologize and promise to re-write the lyrics for the infamous track 'Kasi No No'. The second track was then launched and played across 3 key stations, along with the music video which finally revealed the Axe link to The Cheesegirls.

As a result, the first rack received 504mins of free radio exposure over the first 8 weeks. Track 2 yielded 441mins of free radio exposure over the 7 weeks.

The campaign also smashed through the 10% share barrier target, one year ahead of schedule.

7 Skills for a Post-Pandemic Marketer

The impact of Covid-19 has had a significant impact across the board with the marketing and advertising industry in 2020, but there is hope...