Monday, March 31, 2014

Is every brand a "challenger brand" now?

So, Taco Bell is offering breakfast in the United States now. Should McDonald's be worried? As the undisputed gods of the fast food breakfast, McD should, by all accounts, ignore all challengers — at least in public.

At least, those were the ironclad Rule of Marketing we were taught: The #1 brand in a category never acknowledges the competition. Coke, for example, pretends Pepsi doesn't exist, so that Pepsi has to spend all its efforts comparing itself to Coke.

Fast food was pretty much the same: McDonald's just IS, while Burger King, Wendy's and the others spend advertising dollars basically reminding you that they aren't on top.

Taco Bell's ad, above, is no exception. (And not a new approach, either.) So did McDonald's just chuckle softly to itself, and go swimming in a room full of Egg McMuffin revenue?

No, they did not:

Is this a foolhardy brand strategy deviation by a rogue social media team, or is McDonald's really going to start validating its competition now? Is it yet another marketing rule we need to rewrite?