Taking note of the brothers’ success, in 1955, Entrepreneur Ray Kroc bought the right to franchise the McDonald’s System.
Renamed the McDonald’s Corporation in 1960, Kroc focused his marketing effort on the family meal and children, spending heavily on television advertising which promoted the smiling clown face of its child-friendly brand mascot, Ronald McDonald who made his first TV appearance in 1966. Today, the McDonald’s franchise exceeds 30,000 restaurants globally and serves over 50 million people in more than 100 countries each day.
The restaurant first used a chef character named Speedee for it’s signage. Then in 1953, one of the original founders, Dick McDonald designed the pair of yellow arches on both sides of their new outlet in Phoenix, Arizona. When the arches were viewed from an angle they looked like the letter M. In 1962, Speedee was replaced with the new arched logo, designed by Jim Schindler (McDonald’s head of engineering and design). In 1968 the name McDonald’s was adjoined with the McDonald’s logo. By the 1980s the name was also being placed below the arches.
The relatively new McCafe has included the golden arches and contains the ‘Mc’-prefix to tie to the brand. McCafe is spreading fast enough to perform as a direct competitor of Starbucks. McCafé is a concept created by McDonald’s Australia, starting with Melbourne in 1993.
‘i’m lovin’ it’ was an international branding campaign created by Heye & Partner, based in Germany. The campaign was launched in 2003 worldwide. In 2006, McDonald’s introduced its “Forever Young” brand by redesigning all of their restaurants, the first major redesign since the 1970s. The design includes the traditional McDonald’s yellow and red colors, but the red is muted to terra cotta, the yellow was turned golden for a more “sunny” look, and olive and sage green were also added. To warm up their look, the restaurants have less plastic and more brick and wood, with modern hanging lights to produce a softer glow.
In early 2008, McDonald’s underwent the first phase of their new image and slogan: ‘What we’re made of.’ This was to promote how McDonald’s products are made. In September 2008, McDonald’s introduced new packaging with new, inspirational messages, the “i’m lovin it” slogan.
Competitor Kentucky Fried Chicken has also stayed true to its history, tweaking its original. But keeping the colonel as part of the branding. The company abbreviated to KFC in 1997. In April 2007, KFC unveiled their current logo in which the Colonel shed his white suit jacket for a red cook’s apron. The new logo includes bolder colors and a more well-defined visage of the late Kentucky Fried Chicken founder, who will keep his classic black bow tie, glasses and goatee. The logo is changing for only the fourth time in 50 years, and for the first time in nearly a decade. The smiling Colonel is featured against a red background that matches his red apron, with the KFC brand name in black thick lettering under his chin.
Hamburger rivals, Burger King also made some changes to its identity, but always kept a burger as its base. Burger King changed hands several times over the years starting as Insta-Burger King in 1953. At its inception it used a king sitting on a burger. Then in 1969 when it became a corporate identity it changed to just the bun halves around the name. In 1994, Burger King modernized its first logo by using a smoother font with rounded edges. By 1999, the company again updated the logo that is a stylized version of the “bun halves” logo. The new logo featuring a blue swirl gives the Burger King logo a circular appearance making it look more contemporary.