Golden Arch-itecture: McBrunch Name Review


You may have noticed that breakfast has become the primary battlefield for the fast food heavyweights. Burger King has the Croissan’wich, Taco Bell has been making inroads with the breakfast burritos and waffle tacos they introduced last March, and McDonald’s has been offering the Egg McMuffin for decades. And most recently, along with bolstering their coffee offerings, McDonald’s has registered a trademark for McBrunch.

First, let’s take one step back and talk about the “Mc.” The beauty and genius of McDonald’s naming architecture and naming protocol is in its simplicity and versatility. They can add the prefix to anything and turn a common, otherwise un-trademarkable English word into a instantly recognizable, proprietary brand name. Sometimes the “Mc” attaches to a specific food item—like the McNugget or the McBistro—and sometimes to a whole family of menu items—like the McCafé, and presumably in the near future, McBrunch. And perhaps most importantly, they wield their great power judiciously and sparingly. There is no McSalad and McFries—can you imagine how annoying it would be if every item was a McSomething? Their naming protocol seems to reserve the prefix for big-ticket items–the ones that especially differentiate McDonald’s from their competitors, have the power to attract diners for that McOffering specifically, and are for the most part always on the menu. (Note, one exception to this rule is the McRib, a sandwich invented in 1981 that was on the menu through the 90s and now makes occasional, elusive returns with little notice, generating much hype in the process).

Ok, now to roll out of bed and start talkin’ McBrunch. Brunch has great connotations—it’s hip, casual, slightly indulgent, social, and greater than the sum of its parts. It’s breakfast and lunch, and you wouldn’t dare do brunch, the greatest mealtime portmanteau, alone. These connotations work especially well with McDonald’s recent push to court more Millennials, whom marketers have deemed a large yet fickle demographic.

Lastly, the beauty of affixing Mc to the brunch menu category rather than a specific item is that it allows consumers to let their imaginations relish in the possibilities for what McBrunch actually entails. We don’t know yet how they will execute McBrunch exactly, but we can assume that it will be similar to how the McCafé works (and full disclosure, we worked with them on their McCafé offerings). Just as the McCafé suggests breadth and that it has options for everyone even if they don’t have a specific drink in mind, McBrunch is expansive enough to encapsulate everything your stomach might crave. Going to get McBrunch will appeal to people who aren’t quite sure what they are in the mood for, and can accommodate groups with diverse tastes craving breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, lunch, or anything in between. McBrunch hasn’t even launched it yet, but frankly, I’m sold.

Grade: A

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