When my seven year old niece was a toddler, I used to call her a “Donald’s Baby”. I’m not sure if she ate a lot of McDonald’s, but I do know that anytime she was in the car with me, she would yell out “Donalds, Donalds!” every time that big yellow M was nearby. Nothing else phased her. Now that’s great brand recognition.
My wife and I discussed this before our son was born. We agreed not to have a “Donald’s Baby”. We wanted to make sure he would eat regular meals and introducing him to those deliciously salty mystery meat sandwiches would probably make him crave fast food over home cooked meals. That plan was easy to achieve for the first year. We would bring food and formula with us whenever we went out. Even after his teeth started coming in, we kept to our plan.
Then our plan collapsed
One day we were looking for a quick meal while out shopping. McDonald’s isn’t really on our list top 5 fast food places, but it was nearby, so that’s where we went. We ordered a couple burgers and fries. We sat down and that’s wen we realized, we forgot to bring our son’s food. We knew he was hungry too and we couldn’t just enjoy a meal while he watched in hunger. That would be bad parenting. We looked at each other and said my wife said, “what do you think?”. We could have asked for milk and apples and the counter, but we decided to give him a french fry. At first he didn’t want it and that was ok. Then he decided to try again. That’s when he fell in love. Another Donald’s baby was born! Oh no!
Where to go from here
It’s been a year since his first french fry. He now yells out in excitement “donalds donalds!” when he sees that big yellow M. We don’t go there very often, but he definitely has an addiction to french fries now. The good news is, he does like the food we make at home and he doesn’t crave fast food as we initially feared.
The McDonald’s Legacy
I ended up watching “The Founder” about a month ago. It was (maybe still is) on Netflix. It’s the story about how McDonald’s became what it is today. I never knew the story behind it and I found it rather fascinating. There is no doubt that McDonald’s success is not just about the product, but the brand itself. If you can get a 2 year old to remember your logo, that’s a great achievement. I say that because kids can be the reason an adult makes decisions. We’ve probably gone to McDonald’s 10 times in the past year just because our kid talks about it so much. How many other companies can say their brand does the same thing?