Adwatch: Has McDonald's made itself Brexit-proof?

David Edwards, the joint head of strategy at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, observes that McDonald's has successfully embedded itself into British culture.

At 11.01pm on the 29th March 2019, regardless of Brexit’s relative stiffness, we’re all likely to feel a little bit more isolated…. or, perhaps, liberated (depending upon which side of the great divide you stand).

As a place, Britain will feel a little bit more of an island. 

As a people, we’ll likely start retrenching our island mentality as we redefine our identity.

And it’s likely to make us more introspective.

So, I look at the relative merits of McDonalds’ and Burger King’s strategic approaches in a different light.

McDonald’s makes it onto the recall and likeability list, Burger King recall only.

Why might that be?

Both are imported brands, but McDonald’s has made itself part of the fabric of British culture. 

Even when it does ‘American’, it does it with a local twist.

They’ve spent years imbuing the brand with convincing British associations.

Ipsos Connect recently undertook a national survey exploring attitudes to trust.

In it they observe an erosion of trust in the establishment – big business being a part of that group.

They report a loathing of the establishment, of globalisation, and a turning inwards towards what we feel is safe and trustworthy. 

It’s not only a symptom of globalisation, but, closer to home, a belief that the ‘London elite’ is out of touch with real Britons.

We are increasingly polarised in our political persuasions – especially those related to our relationship with the EU – but we are united in our Britishness.

Brands that ‘get us’ are likely to do particularly well over the next few years.

There’s a strong sense of emotional and physical proximity to the McDonald’s work that is likely to stand it in good stead.

It will be interesting to see how many others follow suit and shift their focus or retrench their Britishness.

Especially those with more authentic British provenance.

Adwatch research is conducted via an internet omnibus survey among 1000 GB adults, aged 16-64, through Research Express, part of Kantar TNS, one of the world’s leading data, insight & consulting agencies. Data supplied by Ebiquity. 

David Edwards is the joint head of strategy at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO 

Start Your Free 30-Day Free Trial

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a subscriber


Don’t miss your daily fix of breaking news, latest work, advice and commentary.

register free