Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Get ‘Em While They’re Young

I love McDonalds, I have ever since I was a youngster. I fondly remember the birthday parties with ice cream cakes, the road trips we took with fries as fuel for the family and I vividly remember the day I was finally a “grown up” in my family – the momentous day I progressed from eating cheese burgers to quarter pounders.

These are happy childhood memories, understandably associated with a company that actively targets children in it’s marketing, layout, menu and facilities .

What’s interesting to note however is that I’ve never grown out of my childish love of McDonalds. I don’t go there as often as I used to, but I’ll always have a happy place in my heart for them.

Not for the quarter pounders. Not for the ice cream cakes. Not for the fries. For the actions of one person on one afternoon.

On “the afternoon” I was about 12 years old and I plucked up all my courage and went up to the owner of my local McDonalds. I explained that I was a ten pin bowler (no giggling please) and that I thought McDonalds would be the best company in the world to sponsor my uniforms. A few details and a hand shake later and I walked out of McDonalds a sponsored athlete.

McDonalds in my local area went on to provide me with uniforms (red and yellow parachute suit, skirt and tops – don’t laugh I designed them!) for the next couple of years.

The moral of the story? Everyone should love McDonalds. Of course not! My own husband doesn’t even eat there!

The moral of the story is that businesses have the ability to create a lasting impression with children that could repay them in loyalty throughout their lives. I know I’ve bought enough quarter pounders over my adult life to pay for those uniforms many many times over!

The Beechworth baker Tom O’Toole does this by having school kids into his bakeries to make their own loaf of bread, McDonalds did it by saying yes to sponsoring an unknown plucky 12 year old (who by the way never achieved much in the sport). How could your business tap into this market of future customers?

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments


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