On January 2, McDonald’s will launch a new marketing campaign designed to show customers the farms and ranches where its food comes from.

Neil Golden, chief marketing officer for McDonald’s USA, announced the new campaign yesterday on McDonald’s @McDListenTour Twitter handle, through which company executives have communicated with consumers in a series of chats this year.

McDonald’s also posted a 17-second clip on YouTube featuring potato supplier Frank Martinez of Saddle View Farms in Warden, Washington, to tease the campaign.

The series will initially feature Martinez and three additional suppliers: beef supplier Steve Fogelsong of Black Gold Cattle Co. in Astoria, Illinois; potato supplier Jen Bunger of Hoelzer Farm in Pasco, Washington; and lettuce supplier Dirk Giannini of Christensen & Giannini LLC in Salinas, California.

“We recognize people today are more conscious of the food they eat and serve their families,” Golden said in a statement following the announcement. “Our customers want to know more about McDonald’s food and have questions about where it comes from.

“As a leader in the restaurant industry, we have a responsibility to be even more transparent. We are proud of the food we serve and hope that hearing from our suppliers first-hand will help answer their questions and make our customers feel good about the high-quality ingredients that go into our menu.” 

Ashlee Yingling, spokeswoman for McDonald’s, says the new campaign will run “sporadically” through 2012 and will be featured in online, print, and TV advertising.

“For us it’s about dispelling some of those myths … of where our food comes from,” Yingling says. “It’s something that’s top of mind for us, and we want to be able to take a different approach with this documentary style to focus on our supplier, who could be your neighbors, and showing where our food comes from.”

Yingling says the new campaign has been in development for the last year, and is not connected with the company’s November move to drop supplier Sparboe Farms for reported inhumane practices.

Rather, the series is an evolution of McDonald’s “What We’re Made Of” campaign, Yingling says, which has trumpeted the quality of the chain’s ingredients for the last few years.

“We are becoming increasingly transparent,” Yingling says. “We want to open our doors, and we do that a lot with media, which includes traditional and social.”

By Sam Oches

Burgers, News, McDonald's