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McDonald’s Spent $50 Million on TV Advertising in April

·4 min read
McDonald’s Spent $50 Million on TV Advertising in April
McDonald’s Spent $50 Million on TV Advertising in April

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.

The answer to where restaurant chains should allocate TV advertising dollars in April was not as cut and dry as say the Super Bowl in February or the NCAA Tournament in March. But brands again stayed true to their marketing approaches of airing commercials during sports telecasts — this time the NBA and NHL playoffs, and the NFL Draft.

McDonald’s easily led all companies in TV ad spend last month for the second time in 2019, spending $50 million to promote its new any size $1 soft drink limited time offer, and mix and match 2 for $5 deal to customers.

The Illinois-based chain last topped the list in February when it introduced bacon as a new topping on its signature burgers. McDonald’s was pressed by analysts last week on its first quarter earnings call about when it would also delve into the growing plant-based food trend, which rival Burger King has tapped into with Impossible Foods. CEO Steve Easterbrook said McDonald’s is currently weighing additional complexities of launching its own product, while also assessing the sustainability of the consumer trend.

“Our menu teams are clearly paying close attention to it,” said Easterbrook. “They are discussing this amongst each other and with some of the options that are out there. So maybe more to come, but nothing much to say about it in the moment.”

Best Of The Rest

McDonald’s competitors Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Domino’s rounded out the top five, spending on average $18 million less over the period, according to iSpot.TV data.

Olive Garden, at number six, was the only casual dining chain represented in the top 10 in April. The company is historically one of a handful of restaurants that predominantly markets to women in efforts to lure families into its restaurants. Such is the case for Cracker Barrel and Chuck E. Cheese’s, among other chains. Olive Garden jumped seven spots to sixth during the month, increasing total TV ad spending by 41 percent to air more commercials in primetime slots during popular TV programs, such as The Voice and Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

On the Delivery front, Uber Eats significantly lowered TV advertising in April, down 71 percent to $2.5 million. The third-party service launched its first TV marketing campaign as an official partner of the NCAA Tournament last month. Market competitors DoorDash and Grubhub each spent more than $6 million on TV advertising over the same period.

TOP SPENDING BY BRANDS

Brand

Airings

Primetime Airings

Estimated Spend

Industry

McDonald’s

19698

3343

$50,611,793

Quick Serve

Taco Bell

16647

2969

$36,062,552

Quick Serve

Burger King

19853

3427

$33,774,641

Quick Serve

Domino’s

20148

4638

$32,269,200

Pizza

Wendy’s

10062

1850

$26,856,300

Quick Serve

Olive Garden

10235

1951

$19,633,034

Casual Dining

Arby’s

5430

1231

$18,768,430

Quick Serve

Little Caesars Pizza

13003

2378

$18,660,348

Pizza

Subway

5763

1174

$18,309,729

Quick Serve

Pizza Hut

6519

1175

$15,578,220

Pizza

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 April 2019, along with a list of the most popular programs and networks chosen by chains for airtime.

1. McDonald’s

Top ad: Joy Included

Top Networks

Top Shows

ABC

NBA Basketball

NBC

NHL Hockey

CBS

American Idol

ESPN

2019 NFL Draft

NBC Sports

The Ten Commandments

2. Taco Bell

Top ad: Tasty Illusion

Top Networks

Top Shows

TNT

NBA Basketball

ABC

South Park

ESPN

NHL Hockey

Comedy Central

2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament

Fox

Ridiculousness

3. Burger King

Top ad: Warning

Top Networks

Top Shows

TNT

NBA Basketball

Adult Swim

American Dad

ESPN

2019 NFL Draft

ABC

Family Guy

TBS

Keeping Up With the Kardashians

4. Domino’s

Top ad: Points for Pies: Medium Toppings

Top Networks

Top Shows

NBC

NBA Basketball

Fox

NHL Hockey

TNT

The Voice

CBS

The Big Bang Theory

Univision

Family Guy

5. Wendy’s

Top ad: Everything

Top Networks

Top Shows

CBS

2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament

NBC Sports

NHL Hockey

TNT

NBA Basketball

ESPN

Ridiculousness

ABC

SportsCenter

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

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