McDonald's "You deserve a break today" campaign is a mainstay of 1970's pop culture. It ranks number five in AdAge's top 100 advertising campaigns of all time. "You deserve a break today's" extraordinarily success lies in a perfectly timed strategy. Economic decline during the 1970's introduced the dual family income household, starring a time-starved mom. Middle income Americans faced unprecedented economic hardship. McDonald's was there, offering a highly accessible much needed getaway.
Rising oil prices, declining household incomes, long hair, patchwork leather pocket books and a serious love for the color brown are back. It's the 70's all over again. Today's consumer is yet again time-starved, budget-crunched and facing large cultural shifts. It's time for a 70's approach to marketing.
Facebook is a perfect example of 70's behavior. Some of the busiest people I know, Moms with full-time jobs and multiple kids, make time for Facebook. They take quizzes, post high school prom photos and fan their favorite stores and restaurants. Why are the busiest people among us making time for such frivolity?
Just like McDonald's in the 70's, Facebook is a getaway. It's a getaway that satisfies a need born from economic stress. It's better than MacDonald's. McDonalds's is fast, cheap and tasty. Facebook, is fast, free and non-fattening.
The era of superlatives and bragging rights is over. We must get back to the basics of satisfying what our customers need. And we must relearn how to keep the message simple.
HCA hospital system in South Florida recognizes that people need to know how long they will have to wait in the emergency room. So HCA hospitals post current wait times on outdoor boards and online. Instead of bragging about doing more surgeries than their competition, HCA is satisfying a need, and admissions are up.
We manage social media for client Moe's Southwest Grill. Contests, offers and give-aways entertain, and hopefully endear, Moe's to their customers. But they only work when they are simple. It can't take more than a minute to process or respond. Moe's is enjoying success in this sluggish recovery because they know how to keep it simple. Mom may not be sporting a polyester pantsuit just yet, but she still doesn't have time to cook dinner. Kids Eat Free Tuesdays at Moe's satisfies a need with no need for explanation.