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The perfect balance of creativity and functionality

Published February 9, 2015 at 8:35 am


No matter how a company tries to promote its brand, it’s difficult to find the right balance of creativity and functionality. Customers could respond well to an idea from left-field, but something too experimental risks getting ridiculed and hurting business instead of improving it. One case in point is McDonald’s recent “Pay With Lovin'” campaign, which has taken an interesting concept into the real world with mixed results.

Introduced by a recent commercial, this initiative replaces traditional forms of in-store payment with random acts of kindness or fun. Instead of using money, randomly selected customers in the first two weeks of February are given simple tasks from cashiers, including performing a dance or calling someone close to them.

As Kate Batchelder writes for the Wall Street Journal, this tactic doesn’t necessarily work for this brand, which is “trying too hard to look trendy” and not focusing on its strengths.

“If the ‘Pay with Lovin’ scenario looks touching on television, it is less so in real life,” she writes. “McDonald’s should dump the ‘love’ mantra and get back to the excellence mantra that made the Egg McMuffin a world-wide phenomenon.”

Other companies have thrived via personal connections with users. Coca Cola, for example, released bottles of its soda with special names on them in a well-received campaign last summer, selling millions of drinks around the world. The difference could be in the fact that Coke made its customers feel like they were being acknowledged in a way that didn’t put them on the spot like McDonalds did.

There are methods to make every potential customer feel unique without forcing them to do something that feels unnatural. With a decentralized marketing plan, businesses have a chance to integrate themselves into the lives of their audiences seamlessly online, where boundaries can still be respected.

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