Will McDonald’s New President Push to Change Marketing?

McDonald’s new U.S. president, Jeff Stratton, scaled the Arches from crew member to global chief restaurant officer. So when he assumes his new post Dec. 1, it’s fair to assume the 40-year company veteran won’t make any major changes to the company’s marketing or agency roster, right?

Don’t be so sure. Agencies and analysts are watching closely to see what action Mr. Stratton, whose expertise lies in restaurant efficiency, improving customer transactions, design and remodeling, may take to reverse McDonald’s sales slide.

“They have aging stores and a much-intensifying competitive set in terms of innovation, store design and … marketing,” said one agency exec familiar with the fast feeder’s advertising. “Something is going to have to happen – either changes to the marketing management, to the current agency roster or investing in their stores or all of it. The status quo is not going to work.”

Mr. Stratton is taking over for Jan Fields, who leaves the company as McDonald’s reports its first monthly global sales decline in nine years. The chain’s U.S. monthly sales have been decelerating since February, when this year’s sales peaked with an 11.1% same-store sales increase. Company watchers pin the blame in part on lack of innovation and increased pricing of McDonald’s food.

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