Out with the ketchup-red. By 2010, all new McDonald’s restaurants in Germany will have its “golden arches” emblazoned on a hunter green background instead.
The reason? McDonald’s Germany wants to reposition the restaurant as a bastion of environmental friendliness, Der Spiegel reported.
“Simplicity and a focus on the essentials is the new design philosophy,” Holger Beeck, deputy head of McDonald’s in Germany, was quoted in the report. All 40 new restaurants set to open in 2010 will adhere to the new design sensibilities. In addition, the façade of the new restaurants will include natural stone and wood. By the end of the year, more than 100 McDonald’s restaurants will be outfitted with the new design style.
“With the new appearance, we want to clarify our responsibility and relationship with natural resources,” Beeck said.
It’s a big move for one of the world’s most recognizable logo. So much so that some in the Twitter community thought it was a joke. A tweet from Twittizen23 wrote: “Erst greenwashing, jetzt greenlabeling?” Signs of green have already started appearing at its 1.4 million euro (US$2.1 million) flagship store at the Munich airport that recently opened. Some of their commercials have already started to spot the green logo too.
McDonald’s is “trying hard to distance itself from the competition (think Burger King) based on the theme of sustainability, and it fits with the recent developments in the market,” a German marketing blog wrote. Most Germans still associate McDonald’s with obesity and litter, according to Der Spiegel. A greener color can probably help change its image, the article suggested.
Design-conscious Germans agree, with some calling it a “bold” move. Others begged to differ. One commentator on a German design blog said it was a bad call and might cause the brand to lose its unique identity it’s built up over the years. Another said if the yellow and red was a reflection of its food (think fries, buns and ketchup), then the deep green in its logo made it look like it makes bad salads.
“Im Photo mit Kai erinnert mich das Gruen ein bisschen an das Gruen was sie in FIlmen wie Platoon benuetzen oder an schlecht gewordenem Salat… aber irgendwie nicht an was gesundem, ” commented Sascha.
The move didn’t quite resonate with an environmentally-conscious German blogger though. Suggesting that McDonald’s was being hypocritical about going “green”, he said the company should have done more to reduce its product packaging. “When I was with my wife and my 2 sons to eat there, this produces more packaging waste as regulated 3 days eating at home,” he wrote in German.
Not everyone agrees. Environmental campaigners Greenpeace, which has heavily criticized McDonald’s (and practically everyone else) for its food processing methods, lauded the logo change. McDonald’s has to be given some credit for trying to be more environmentally friendly, though much of what it has done to go green has taken place in the US. Last year, they opened their first “green restaurant” (in Chicago) for a new pilot program on green building and received the Gold LEED rating. In one location in North Carolina (opened last month), it has actually installed a charging station for electric vehicles.
This is not the first time McDonald’s in Germany has gone out of the way to align itself environmentally with folks of Germany, one of the world’s greenest countries and McDonald’s third largest market, behind the US and Japan. In March last year, the company went to the extent of redesigning the lids of its McFlurry ice cream lids to save German hedgehogs.
Do you think going the green way will cause McDonald’s competitors to turn green with envy? Or is going eco-friendly a moral obligation it has to fulfill? And if so, is the fast food chain doing enough?