Flashback Friday — "You Deserve a Break Today"

Blog post by: Melissa Ignasiak
Today’s Flashback Friday features McDonald’s 1971 slogan “You deserve a break today”.
In the past ten years, we have come to recognize McDonalds by its slogan “I’m lovin’ it”, launched by the fast-food chain back in 2003. We may even remember its “We love to see you smile” campaign used from 2000-2003.  Although these slogans have been successful in maintaining the McDonalds brand, it was “You deserve a break” that helped McDonalds become the company it is today.
In the 1960s, McDonalds had various ad campaigns that helped secure the company’s success. By 1970, the company began looking for an advertising firm to direct their new ad campaign. They chose Needham, Harper & Steers who had impressed them with their idea that McDonald’s restaurants could be a place for people to “get away” and have fun with their families.
After having almost finished the project of creating the “McDonalds as islands campaign” the firm discovered a food chain in Nebraska was marketing themselves as “Islands of Pleasure”. McDonalds was forced to reject the whole campaign. Back at square one, the firm chose to create a song-and-dance act and came up with line “You deserve a break today”. The commercial featured McDonald’s employees singing about how clean their store is and tell their customers “You deserve a break today –so get up and get away–to McDonalds!”
This campaign has become one of the most successful ad campaigns because of the message it portrayed. It targeted people who believe they were busy and run down. Adults were one of the most popular groups who identified with this campaign because it made them believe that they really did need a break and going to McDonalds was an easy way to get away.
“You deserve a break today” ran for only four years after its introduction in 1971. McDonald’s campaigns have run for as little one year and there have been over a dozen since 1971. In 1995, McDonalds introduced a spin off of the famous slogan with “Have you had your break today?” which ran for two years. “You deserve a break today” is not only McDonald’s most successful advertising campaign but has become one of the most successful campaigns of all time. This slogan did more than just increasing sale, it created an everlasting impression of the McDonalds brand name.