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McDonald’s Spent $48 Million to Push Bacon in February

Danni Santana
McDonald’s Spent $48 Million to Push Bacon in February

Note: Advertising strategy is an important part of the restaurant business. Skift Table continues to look at the top spenders on television ads for the previous month across the industry.

Last month’s Super Bowl drew the attention of many top restaurant chains, as brands looked to take advantage of the millions of viewers tuning in to the telecast around the world.

While some brands, like Burger King, ran ads during the big game, other chains notably opted to air commercials during pregame shows to avoid the $5.25 million price tag CBS charged per 30-second commercial. This included Pizza Hut — the National Football League’s official sponsor— which continued to roll out its Abe Lincoln campaign featuring a revamped $5 lineup.

Meanwhile, award shows like the Grammy’s and the Oscars received their fair share of attention too, with the likes McDonald’s and Domino’s paying networks for primetime slots. Advertising during popular sitcoms and adult-oriented cartoons additionally remained a constant for brands in February.

Inside the Numbers

McDonald’s led all companies in advertising dollars spent at $48 million, less than what the chain allocated in January. Taco Bell (second on the list) cut its TV advertising funding by nearly half, likely due to Grubhub picking up most of the tab for its joint commercial with the chain touting limited time free delivery. Grubhub reportedly spent just under $7 million in ad dollars in February.

The biggest surprise of the month was Arby’s, which catapulted up 26 spots from January to crack the top 10 in advertising dollars spent. The quick service restaurant has completed a large sales turnaround in recent years by relying more on promotions and new deli meats to entice customers, according to Forbes. The chain’s success also led its parent company to acquire both Buffalo Wild Wings and Sonic in 2018.

Overall, quick service restaurants and pizza chains dominated TV advertising again in February, with Yum Brands’ subsidiaries — Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC — in the top 10 for the fourth consecutive month.  Olive Garden and Applebee’s, the casual restaurants that cracked the top 10 in January, ended February at 11 and 14, respectively, after shelling out more than $10 million each.

Top Spending By Brands

Brand Airings Primetime Airings Estimated Spend Industry
McDonald’s 8075 1358 $48,045,095 Quick Serve
Taco Bell 18978 3664 $37,834,884 Quick Serve
Domino’s 19734 4252 $31,816,185 Pizza
Burger King 16129 2858 $30,266,012 Quick Serve
Pizza Hut 6366 1164 $24,003,927 Pizza
Arby’s 4986 1082 $18,601,014 Quick Serve
Little Caesars Pizza 11939 2222 $17,421,320 Pizza
KFC 8392 1437 $16,673,463 Quick Serve
Wendy’s 10959 1911 $16,030,562 Quick Serve
Subway 5980 1212 $12,887,690 Quick Serve

Information is provided by TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv.

Most-Run Ads by Brand

Below are the top advertisements run by each brand in the top five of TV ad dollars spent in February 2019, along with a list of the most popular programs and networks chosen by chains for airtime.

1. McDonald’s

Top ad: Fry Show 

Top Networks Top Shows
CBS The Oscars
ABC Super Bowl Kickoff Show
NBC NBA Basketball
ESPN The 61st Annual Grammy Awards
Fox The Walking Dead

2. Taco Bell

Top Ad: The Go-Getters

Top Networks Top Shows
Comedy Central NBA Basketball
FOX South Park
TNT 2019 NBA All-Sar Game
ABC The Walking Dead
ESPN Ridiculousness

3. Domino’s

Top Ad: Points for Pies

Top Networks Top Shows
CBS Super Bowl Kickoff Show
FOX NHL Hockey
TBS The 61st Annual Grammy Awards
ESPN SportsCenter
Univision Family Guy

 4. Burger King

Top Ad: Andy

Top Networks Top Shows
CBS Super Bowl LIII
TNT NBA Basketball
ESPN 2019 NBA All-Star Game
TBS South Park
MTV Family Guy

5. Pizza Hut

Top Ad: Look at That Crust

Top Networks Top Shows
CBS Super Bowl Kickoff Show
ABC The Super Bowl Today
FOX 2019 Daytona 500
Adult Swim College Basketball
ESPN NBA Basketball

Information is provided by TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv.

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