Need a perfect paper? Place your first order and save 5% with this code:   SAVE5NOW

McDonald’s and Its Social Identity

Today, McDonald’s is a multi-billion-dollar company admired worldwide for its reputation for easily accessible, well-priced, quick meals. The McDonald brothers started the food franchise in 1955, and grew in popularity for its innovative standards (McDonald’s Corp.). Over about seven decades, McDonald’s has consistently stayed relevant by using many marketing strategies to advertise and revamp its brand and personality consistently. In various campaigns and commercials over the years, the brand aims to promote satisfactory customer service through inexpensive food menus, reliability, and a virtuous setting for friends and families. Specifically, McDonald’s utilizes archetypes as another marketing strategy, celebrity endorsements, and participation and features in major events and holidays such as The Super Bowl, Halloween, Christmas, and more. In such a way, McDonald’s tells its story through its brand personality, which can be publicly perceived as a social crusader, an everyman, and a patriot.

In speculation, McDonald’s openly provides its history and timeline on its official website; McDonald’s Corp. Dick and Mac MacDonald first started a local BBQ restaurant in California in 1940 and closed three months later to undergo alterations. Later, in 1954, the MacDonald brothers collaborated with Ray Kroc, a multimixer salesman, to achieve their goal of opening up more locations and developing into a nationwide franchise. A year later, in 1955, Kroc opened the first McDonald’s restaurant in Illinois; from there, McDonald’s continued to expand its menus and locations. Of more importance, in 1974, the first Ronald McDonald House opened at a Philadelphia Children’s Hospital when football player Fred Hill of the Philadelphia Eagles urged for it as his child was being treated for leukemia at the hospital. In 2003, McDonald’s launched its “first global ad campaign, ‘I’m Lovin’ It’”; it’s now widely known for its iconic jingle today (McDonald’s Corp.). From there on, McDonald’s continues to grow as a brand and learns to develop its advertising and brand personality.

While Mark and Pearson emphasize the power of archetypes in branding, it is essential to acknowledge that the effectiveness of archetypal branding may only be universal for some brands or contexts. Their approach, while powerful, may oversimplify the complexities of consumer behavior and the diversity of markets (MARK and PEARSON). In the case of McDonald’s, for example, the brand effectively embodies multiple archetypes, such as “The Hero,” “The Everyman,” and “The Patriot.” However, countless other factors are at play, including regional cultural differences, shifts in consumer preferences, and competition within the fast-food industry. Brands must also adapt to evolving societal norms and consumer expectations, which may only sometimes align seamlessly with their chosen archetypes. Thus, while archetypal branding can be a potent tool, it must be wielded judiciously in conjunction with a nuanced understanding of the specific brand and its operating environment.

In its website’s “Our Mission and Values” section, McDonald’s articulates a compelling narrative that extends far beyond merely serving fast food. By explicitly highlighting its commitment to feeding communities with convenient locations, extended operating hours, and affordable prices, McDonald’s crafts a story of accessibility and inclusivity that resonates with consumers. This portrayal conveys that McDonald’s is not just a place to grab a quick meal; it is a brand deeply rooted in the communities it serves, offering a reliable and convenient dining option for everyone. Moreover, when McDonald’s emphasizes its “lighthearted, unpretentious, welcoming, dependable personality,” it reinforces a narrative that transcends the transactional nature of a fast-food restaurant. This personality aligns with the archetype of “The Everyman,” described by James B. Twitchell in “An English Teacher Looks at Branding.” McDonald’s presents itself as a brand that understands the everyday needs and desires of the common person. It’s a place where people can relax, share moments with family and friends, and enjoy a meal without the burden of pretentiousness or extravagance. This approach efficiently builds McDonald’s story by forging a deep emotional connection with its customers.

Twitchell, an English teacher, emphasizes in his book, “What marks a modern world is that certain brand fictions have been able to generate a deep and almost instantaneous bond between consumers” (Twitchell, p. 488). In relevance to the worldwide-known McDonald’s, its consumers bond over the love for its products and its brand story. As McDonald’s mentioned, their dependable and welcoming personality forms a bond between customers who exclusively look for a reliable food setting to dine at. Twitchell expands his argument, stating, “We use the term “brand loyalty” without appreciating the power of what such affiliation means. We all know from how certain automobile owners wave at each other solely based on the brand of car they drive, how certain computer users form chat groups that extend friendship beyond simple discussion…” (Twitchell, p.488). Undoubtedly, McDonald’s formed a loyal customer base through its competitors selling similar products. Customers bond over this fast food chain that sells chicken McNuggets and Quarter Pounder combo meals without knowing what ingredients are used to make such products. Branding through advertisements is a technique McDonald’s uses to tell its story.

In many ads, McDonald’s features celebrities with likable reputations and relevance to promote their story and attract consumers. Specifically, in a 2005 “I’m Lovin’ It” campaign commercial, McDonald’s features Destiny’s Child, a successful band for its time ( BeyonceAds). By collaborating with Destiny’s Child, McDonald’s tapped into the aura of stardom and the band’s widespread appeal. The decision to feature Destiny’s Child in their campaign was well-calculated, as the band embodied attributes such as talent, glamour, and a charismatic stage presence, making them highly likable to a broad audience. Using celebrities like Destiny’s Child in McDonald’s advertising is a strategic choice that taps into the power of the “Celebrity” archetype. Mark and Pearson discuss how this archetype embodies the characteristics of being well-known, attractive, and magnetic to the public. By featuring prominent celebrities in their commercials, McDonald’s aligns itself with these qualities and leverages the charisma of the celebrities to draw in more consumers ( BeyonceAds). By featuring well-known and attractive personalities, McDonald’s enhances its image and stays in tune with contemporary culture, ensuring that it remains an attractive choice for a diverse range of consumers.

George Lakoff’s insights, as presented in “The Political Mind,” shed light on the influential role of celebrity endorsements in shaping public perceptions. Celebrities wield substantial influence over public opinion, and their association with a brand can significantly affect how the brand is perceived (Lakoff). Moreover, McDonald’s has actively embraced participation in major events and holidays, seamlessly embedding its brand within the cultural tapestry of society. By aligning its promotions with events like the Super Bowl, Halloween, and Christmas, McDonald’s adopts the “Patriot” archetype, which resonates with a sense of national pride and shared cultural traditions. The choice to integrate these holidays into its branding strategy further underscores McDonald’s ability to connect with diverse consumer segments, appealing to the collective sentiments of the population during these celebratory moments. This alignment with national and cultural events enhances the brand’s relatability. It strengthens its image, fostering deeper connections with its audience while solidifying its position as a prominent and cherished fast-food brand (Lakoff). McDonald’s ability to deftly incorporate celebrity endorsements and participate in cultural events showcases its strategic mastery of archetypal branding techniques and commitment to maintaining a vibrant and relevant brand identity.

Kent Wertime’s insights, as articulated in “Building Brands & Believers,” underscore the critical importance of connecting with consumers through archetypes that align with their cultural and social context. McDonald’s has applied this principle by embracing the “Patriot” archetype during holidays and special events. By actively participating in these occasions, McDonald’s reinforces a brand that celebrates the values and traditions of its audience (Wertime). The alignment of McDonald’s with cultural events and holidays effectively resonates with its customers’ collective sentiments and sensibilities. McDonald’s understands the significance of these moments in the lives of its patrons and adapts its branding to match the joy, nostalgia, and shared experiences associated with these events. During the Super Bowl, for example, McDonald’s offers special promotions and menu items to coincide with the excitement of this widely celebrated sports event, creating a sense of togetherness and camaraderie among its consumers (McDonald’s Corp.). Furthermore, McDonald’s goes a step further during holidays like Halloween and Christmas by introducing themed menu items and decorating its establishments with festive ornaments and motifs. This meticulous attention to detail reflects the brand’s commitment to enhancing the overall customer experience and encapsulating the essence of these special occasions. McDonald’s ‘Patriot’ archetype shines through in these efforts, portraying the brand as a loyal and enduring companion that shares in the nation’s and its customers’ collective celebrations.

McDonald’s has masterfully employed a multi-faceted approach to establish and maintain its brand identity through archetypes. Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson, in “The Hero and The Outlaw,” underscore the importance of archetypes as storytelling tools. McDonald’s effectively embodies “The Hero” archetype by supporting initiatives like the Ronald McDonald House, demonstrating its commitment to improving the world. Simultaneously, the brand portrays itself as “The Everyman,” resonating with the ordinary person by providing dependable, affordable, and welcoming experiences, as emphasized by James B. Twitchell in “An English Teacher Looks at Branding.” This strategy forges deep bonds with consumers, encapsulating the concept of brand loyalty, as people turn to McDonald’s not just for food but for the emotional satisfaction of being part of a larger, inclusive community; this is evident from the comment in how McDonald forum where a customer comments, “I love McDonald’s and I know for a fact that everyone else on the forum does too” (Ephemeralartery). George Lakoff’s insights in “The Political Mind” further highlight how McDonald’s taps into the power of celebrity endorsements. By featuring popular figures like Destiny’s Child, McDonald’s successfully portrays itself as magnetic and attractive, aligning with the “Celebrity” archetype. The influence of celebrities in shaping public opinion is recognized, as their association with the brand adds a layer of glamour and desirability. Moreover, Kent Wertime’s emphasis on connecting with consumers through archetypes that align with their cultural and social context illuminates McDonald’s adoption of the “Patriot” archetype during holidays and special events; this solidifies McDonald’s status as a beloved, homegrown brand that celebrates the values and traditions of its audience. McDonald’s archetypal branding strategy has allowed it to cultivate a loyal customer base, create deep emotional connections with consumers, and resonate with diverse audiences. The brand’s ability to embody “The Hero,” “The Everyman,” and “The Patriot” archetypes, along with celebrity endorsements, demonstrates its exceptional skill in shaping its social identity. McDonald’s serves burgers and fries and serves as a case study in effective branding through archetypes and storytelling.

In conclusion, McDonald’s has effectively utilized archetypes, celebrity endorsements, and participation in major events to shape its brand identity and social image. Through its history, commitment to social causes, and marketing campaigns, McDonald’s has embodied the archetypes of “The Hero,” “The Everyman,” and “The Patriot.” This strategic use of archetypes has allowed McDonald’s to bond with consumers deeply emotionally, fostering brand loyalty. The integration of celebrities and participation in cultural events further enhances the brand’s appeal to a diverse and global audience. McDonald’s is a prime example of how a brand can tell its story and shape its social identity by strategically using archetypes and marketing tactics, making it a true icon in the fast-food industry.

Works Cited

BeyonceAds. “Destiny’s Child – World Children’s Day/ Ronald McDonald House Charities (2005) AD.” YouTube, YouTube, 8 Sept. 2011,

Ephemeralartery. “McDonald’s General Discussion.” The Popjustice Forum, The Popjustice Forum, 4 Jan. 2017,

Lakoff, George. The political mind: why you can’t understand 21st-century politics with an 18th-century brain. Penguin, 2008.

MARK, MARGARET, and CAROL S. PEARSON. “The hero and the outlaw: Building extraordinary brands through the power of Archetypes.” Choice Reviews Online, vol. 39, no. 02, 2001,

McDonald’s Corporation, Accessed on 19 Oct. 2023.

Twitchell, James B. “An English teacher looks at branding: Figure 1.” Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 31, no. 2, 2004, pp. 484–489,

Wertime, Kent. Building Brands & Believers. Esensi, 2002.


Don't have time to write this essay on your own?
Use our essay writing service and save your time. We guarantee high quality, on-time delivery and 100% confidentiality. All our papers are written from scratch according to your instructions and are plagiarism free.
Place an order

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Need a plagiarism free essay written by an educator?
Order it today

Popular Essay Topics