Today, May 5, is the official national launch of McDonald’s new Starbucks competitor — the McCafé. The company is pouring their marketing and advertising hearts and dollars into the effort. Word from the company is that it’s the largest campaign it has launched since it began selling breakfast in the 1970’s.

They have at least five completely different websites dedicated to the cafe-styled line of espresso based drinks, which is marketing 101 these days. The design of the sites is nice, but the content? A bit questionable:
McDonald's Art — Basic site, showing off what appear to be the cafe’s three offerings: latte, cappuccino and “mocha.” — Interactive! “Skate” around an ice rink by controling a coffee bean with legs using the arrow keys on your keyboard. — More interactive! Make your own digital cappuccino art by pouring digital steamed milk into espresso. — even more interactive! make your own… um… digital coffee-ring snowflake?? — With the ever so classy slogan “Give it up for the accent mark!” and a video-intensive game-show-movie-esque content

Who is the target audience for these websites, again?

As for the actual cafes, the interiors are full of wood and artwork, soft lighting, benches and spots for lounging. There have actually been McCafe’s in other countries around the world since the 1990’s, but it took the recession to convince Micky D’s that they could lure can’t-afford-it-every-day-anymore-ex-Starbucks drinkers through their stigma-ed arches.

Supposedly there are several in the Philadelphia area already. Can’t speak from experience, though. There doesn’t appear to be one yet in the Rittenhouse Square location, hidden between high-end fashion retailers on Walnut Street, though that restaurant (can you call it that? fast food joint?) does have some unique, non-chain-looking art hanging.

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