McDonald's uniforms get brand-building makeover

OAK BROOK, IL: McDonald's is extending its brand-building efforts with a radical redesign of its employee uniforms.

OAK BROOK, IL: McDonald's is extending its brand-building efforts with a radical redesign of its employee uniforms.

The fast-food giant sees new uniforms as a way to help improve employee morale while re-enforcing its brand image, said Bill Whitman, director of media relations for McDonald's USA.

The goal is to find new designs employees will like so much that they'll wear them outside of work, becoming walking billboards for the brand.

"Our crews are ambassadors of the brand," said Whitman. "We believe their attire should reflect that."

McDonald's is working with music industry veteran Steve Stoute to find possible star designers to create new uniforms.

Stoute, founder of New York-based Translation Consulting & Brand Imaging, helped McDonald's hire Justin Timberlake to sing its I'm Lovin' It jingle.

Initial misreporting of its uniform plans left McDonald's media relations handling a flood of calls early last week.

Advertising Age reported on July 4 that McDonald's had spoken with Russell Simmons, P. Diddy, and Tommy Hilfiger about designing new uniforms.

That report was "a bit of an overstatement," said Whitman. No deals have been signed with any designers, he said.

The Ad Age story led to widespread media coverage of McDonald's plans. Whitman said he handled more than 20 media calls July 5 on the subject.

No timetable has been set for selection of new designs or use of new uniforms in stores, Whitman said.

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