Much to the hilarity of international observers, McDonald’s Australian operation has chosen to rename a number of its outlets as a tribute to the country as Australia Day approaches.
To Australians, the Golden Arches herald a site of “Macca’s”, as it us known locally. However, between now and February 4—either side of the big day on January 26—the nickname will turn into the official moniker, as far as signage for 13 stores, beginning in New South Wales, is concerned.
"We're incredibly proud to embrace our ‘Australian-only' nickname," said Mark Lollback, the company's chief marketing officer in Australia, in a statement.
"What better way to show Aussies how proud we are to be a part of the Australian community than change our store signs to the name the community has given us?"
Second best loved nickname
Surveys have showed at least 50 percent of Australians use the nickname. Indeed, it is the second most recognised Australianism, just behind "footy" for Australian rules football, according to one survey.
The popularity of the nickname has also prompted McDonald's to call on Macquarie Dictionary, the authority on the English language in Australia, to include "Macca's" in their online version, a proposal supported by one third of Australians, the company said.
McDonald’s—Macca’s—also plans to introduce a limited-time menu of Australia-centric foods, dubbed "The Australia Range," in order to appeal to those who refuse to eat food if it doesn't somehow remind them of Australia.
Offerings include the McOzzie burger (a cheeseburger with beetroot), the "Aussie Lamb" (a standard lamburger), and the "Aussie Brekkie" meal, which puts barbecue sauce on breakfast.
The popular Gawker website reported the development in a typically tongue-in-cheek way.
“The switch to ‘Macca’s’ was chosen to honour Australia Day, the Australian equivalent of Christmas,” it reported. “‘We can do whatever we want; there are literally no consequences for any action; all rules exist in a vacuum, devoid of meaning’ is the subtext.”
Australia already has form when it comes to renaming American fast-food chains on local turf. All Burger King outlets are named “Hungry Jack’s” in the country as a result of a licencing deal and trademark dispute that dates back to the 1970s.
Have your say: What is your opinion on PR stunts like these as a means to integrate a brand into a wider, national celebration. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.