Leaked McDonald's marketing bible reveals how seriously the fast-food giant takes its reputation and why you'll never see Ronald in a strip club
- McDonald's has many marketing rules, including specific policies on what Ronald McDonald can and cannot do, what items are "Mc" worthy, and the exact shade of The Golden Arches.
- Many of these rules are laid out in the "Golden Arches code."
- Business Insider obtained a 2012 copy of the code. Here are seven of the most surprising rules.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
McDonald's takes Ronald McDonald very seriously.
The fast-food giant has determined Ronald McDonald has good eating habits, doesn't smoke and "does not touch anyone in any inappropriate way." All appearances of the mascot must be approved by the company and deemed consistent with his "core personality" - meaning Ronald McDonald is specifically banned from visiting a nightclub or lounge. The nickname "Ronnie" is strictly off limits.
These are just a few of the rules spelled out in a 2012 copy of McDonald's "Golden Arches code" obtained by Business Insider. The code acts as a marketing bible for McDonald's, intended for internal use, spelling out every aspect of the fast-food giant's brand.
"When we behave according to our values - when our brand actions show how we come together to do good - when brand expressions exude simple easy enjoyment - when our personality shines through all touchpoints - customers will see us as their favorite place and way to eat and drink - and they will be feeling and saying 'i'm lovin' it'," the 2012 code states.
Much of the code is standard. For example, the code spells out careful guidelines on how to market to children and explicitly prohibits solicitation in stores. However, as McDonald's attempts to make sure its iconic symbols remain untarnished, the company also uses the code to establish some rules that seem somewhat absurd for someone outside the "McFamily."
"As stewards of the iconic Golden Arches, we take seriously our responsibility to ensure what the brand communicates weaves us together across the 120 countries where we serve customers," a McDonald's representative said in a statement to Business Insider. "In a world where our customers hear thousands of messages each day, we are continuing to innovate and modernize our creative and marketing to generate meaningful and personal connections with our customers."
Here are seven of the most bizarre and surprising rules in McDonald's marketing bible.