Dear Fellow Owners,

It was a busy week at McDonald’s, our hometown. We announced a new creative agency partnership with Wieden & Kennedy out of New York (WKNY). This is a big deal. We have had a long relationship with two national (now international) agencies, Leo Burnett (Publicis) and DDB Worldwide (Omnicom). Working with these two agencies, McDonald’s developed memory making campaigns like “You Deserve A Break Today,” “The Big Mac Jingle,” “Legendary Happy Meal Promotions,” and “Mac Tonight.” We created award winning commercials, dominated Super Bowl air time, and brightened people’s day, all across America. We elevated Mass Marketing to an art form and no one did it better. Our current campaign “I am lovin it” came out of DDB Germany and was our first Global Marketing campaign. Working with WKNY, we will once again see if we can capture the American zeitgeist. We will see if we can get back to creative that speaks to what so many people love about McDonald’s, to the heart and soul of our brand. We will see if WKNY is as good as advertised and if our national marketing team can pull off the next great McDonald’s campaign.  We are betting they can and are excited to see what they produce. A new day for McDonald’s marketing begins.

Speaking of the heart and soul of the brand, I got to spend time at my local Ronald McDonald House this week. The house is dedicated to the three legged stool who built it and sits in the middle of a large teaching hospital complex. It shares what all of our houses share; hope. Our houses are a refuge amongst the good but sobering work of pediatric healthcare. A space where families recoup from the stress involved in a child’s struggle. A sanctuary where new realities are faced, where tears are shed, and new ways of joy found. Where miracles happen and we find the courage to carry on. The house that love built. If you ever need a lift, go volunteer at one of our houses. The Ronald McDonald House never fails.  

McDonald’s was also in the news with the latest technology acquisition, Apprente. Apprente is an AI voice recognition company and can help us in our drive thru’s. Technology has been a sore spot in our company history. Steve and the team are working on changing that. Where technology goes from being a barrier to being an enabler for us and our customers. Our Mobile, Order, Pay App is one example of technology that could be a difference maker right now. And not just for coupons, but for ordering and paying. It’s ready for prime time. I suggest everyone try it, it’s good, and it makes eating at McDonald’s even easier.  We need to promote it and help our customers see the value in using it. We need to show our teams that it works for them too. Show them how this helps them reduce their OEPE and overall drive thru times. Kudos to Christian, Cosmo, Hashim, and the whole digital team for developing technology that works at the speed of McDonald’s.  

Lastly a couple thoughts on Unity. McDonald’s has been and always will be a diverse group. Not just diverse in race and gender, but diverse in philosophy and opinions. We are stronger because of our diversity, not in spite of it. We are strong because our culture assimilates that diversity and we are one. We are one under the Arches. Owner Toni Rodgers reminded me this week of why our diversity matters. Why it’s that diversity that allows us to serve more customers, more often than anyone else. Why our broad base is stronger than a narrow one. Why hanging together is better than the alternative. It’s that broad base that makes the Arches so welcoming. We welcome you to Dallas and hope to see you there.  

Your NOA Chair,