“How about a Macca’s?”
In a PR stunt rolled out by the fast-food giant McDonald’s, 13 branches of the restaurant in Australia will see their slogan translated to “Macca’s”, the nickname by which it is known across the country. This name change is part of this year’s Australia Day celebrations, and observes the fact that, as discovered by a recent survey, “Macca’s” is the country’s second most recognised Australianism, used by at least 50 per cent of the population (surpassed only by “footy”, referring of course to Aussie Rules football). Running for the entire month of January, the rebrand will see signage altered with the new name alongside the traditional Golden Arches, with a TV campaign to match. Mark Lollback, head of marketing at McDonald’s Australia, has said of the move: “What better way to show Aussies how proud we are to be a part of the Australian community than incorporate the name the community has given us across all our channels, even our signs?” There have also been calls to have the colloquial term incorporated into the online edition of the Macquarie Dictionary, the national record of Australian English, officially recognising its position in the local language.
Behind the News:
While nicknames for this major international brand are common – think “Macky-D’s” in the UK, “Mickey-D’s” in the US, or “McDo” in France – none have ever been deemed popular enough for such a dramatic rebrand for the domestic market. Adapting such a solid corporate identity in this direct and transparent way to reflect local cultural trends and perceptions is a bold move, although the chain’s headquarters have indicated that this will be a temporary measure. While the success of the promotion remains to be seen, there can be little doubt that other global brands will be looking on with interest. Commercial nicknames are clearly widespread, especially among more familiar and popular brands or organisations. In the UK, you wouldn’t expect to encounter too many confused looks by mentioning Marks & Sparks, JD or the Beeb, but resulting public relations campaigns are rare to see. One thing that is reinforced by the appearance of “Macca’s” is the importance of market localisation, showing cross-cultural understanding and sensitivity towards consumer habits in specific markets, as this piece argues with regard to the presence of McDonald’s across Africa.