INTERNATIONAL: McDonald’s ramps up PR to counter crises

PARIS: McDonald’s France has decided to boost its crisis communications and spend more of its annual pounds 30 million communications budget on PR, to protect its corporate image.

PARIS: McDonald’s France has decided to boost its crisis

communications and spend more of its annual pounds 30 million

communications budget on PR, to protect its corporate image.



The restaurant chain has hired Euro RSCG Corporate, the PR subsidiary of

the giant Euro RSCG communications group. The agency will run a public

image campaign from the Autumn.



The company - which operates 791 restaurants in France, plans to open

another 800 before 2010 and made sales last year of more than pounds 1

billion pounds - has decided to respond more directly to a run of

negative coverage following two court cases in which the company has

been involved.



The thrust of the campaign will depend on the outcome of the two

cases.



One involves Jose Bovis, who last year tried to prevent the opening of a

new outlet in Millau, southern France, and has since become a spokesman

for the anti-globalisation lobby.



The second concerns the firing last month of an employee at another

outlet at Albi, also in southern France, for giving a free Big Mac to an

elderly woman who was unable to pay.



The second incident, which unleashed a flurry of negative comment, was

countered by McDonald’s France chairman Denis Hennequin, who last month

wrote to all the cities where McDonald’s operates to give the company’s

side of the story.



The decision to ramp up rebuttal communications was taken, said a

McDonald’s spokesman, ’because the piling up of several bad media

incidents inevitably leaves a trace’. He said McDonald’s new campaign

will also see it spend more time and money lobbying politicians.



The lobbying campaign will focus on the fact that McDonald’s employs

30,000 in France and creates more than 2,000 new jobs each year. It

urges politicians to take anti-McDonald’s vandalism more seriously.



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