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McDonald's Branding More Powerful Than Common Sense

By Laura Oppenheimer in Food on Aug 7, 2007 6:00PM

Pop quiz! Which is better: a Chicken McNugget or a small morsel of chicken meat that has been battered and fried to look like, smell like and taste like a Chicken McNugget, a piece of chicken lacking only the telltale McDonalds' wrapping? 2007_8_mcnugget.jpgIf you answered the McNugget, you aren't alone; A recent study of preschoolers in which the children sampled identical McDonald's foods in name-brand and unmarked wrappers found that the unmarked food always lost. Even when it was apples, carrots or milk they still picked the McDonald's wrapped snack.

Study author Dr. Tom Robinson told the AP that the kids' perception of taste was "physically altered by the branding."

Oak Brook-based McDonald's is no stranger to the power of brands and marketing. After all, it was their clever "super size me" campaign that was turned against them in the Morgan Spurlock film Super Size Me. This study comes only a month after McDonald's and 11 other major food and drink companies announced new curbs on marketing to children under 12. Perhaps studies like this eventually will lead to a backlash against the behemoth fast food corporation, much like cigarette advertising was outlawed on television in the 70's.

Still, Chicagoist wasn't too surprised to hear the results of this study; even as a preschooler, if given the choice about where to go, we'd pick McDonald's — and Chicagoist's parents never took us there, so we must have picked up the cravings from all the marketing and advertising. We just knew it was where we wanted to go. And it doesn't shock us to discover that not much has changed.

Image via Wow Philippines.