McDonald’s has Emily Zugay to thank for its most-liked Facebook profile picture ever

The chain told PRWeek why the TikTok star inspired a “digital rebrand" across its social channels.

McDonald’s has Emily Zugay to thank for its most-liked Facebook profile picture ever

CHICAGO: Emily Zugay has taken TikTok by storm by redesigning spoof logos for brands

When McDonald’s noticed that its own Golden Arches were not included, its PR and social media teams got to work.

“We decided to comment on her video as an initial touch point, asking her to help reinvent the iconic Golden Arches logo,” said Guillaume Huin, social media director of brand content and engagement for McDonald’s U.S.A. “We got more support from fans than we would have ever hoped for, with 170,000 likes on our comment, showing us that fans of both [Zugay] and McDonald’s wanted to see her work her magic on our logo.”

In her next video, Zugay granted McDonald’s wish and created a logo emphasizing the “o” in McDonald’s. In the video she explained that, to pair nicely with its new logo, McDonald’s could run a campaign focused on onion rings. Also, the logo she created misspelled McDonald’s name as McDOalds.


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“I don’t think you meant for your logo to look suggestive, but right now this looks like two knees to me,” Zugay said in her video about the Golden Arches. “I don’t want to be thinking about knees while I’m eating my McChicken.”

McDonald’s has a dedicated, integrated team made up of experts from its social and PR teams who manage an always-on listening engine. The team, which worked on this campaign with lead agencies Wieden+Kennedy New York and Golin, is constantly mining for cultural moments to drive even more brand love for McDonald’s. Part of that includes igniting and fostering relationships with true brand fans, explained Emily Lyons Peet, director of PR and brand engagement for McDonald’s U.S.A.

“When we saw [Zugay] share her witty logo redesign, we moved swiftly on a hyper-integrated action plan to create a combined owned social and earned media moment,” said Lyons Peet.

McDonald’s decided to operate a “digital rebrand" across its social channels and posted about Zugay’s logo on TikTok, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. McDonald’s has seen hundreds of thousands of engagements combined across TikTok, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. In particular, however, the post on Facebook showcasing the logo change turned out to become McDonald’s most-liked profile picture, quickly amassing 104,000 likes and 25,000 shares. 

“We wanted to do all we could to elevate her sheer brilliance with our fans and share ‘mcdOalds’ with the world,” said Lyons Peet.

In addition to its visual identity, McDonald’s also changed the spelling of its name on social – renaming its channels McdOald’s. McDonald’s kept the full redesign up for almost a week – “not only because our fans were loving it, but because we wanted to spotlight [Zugay’s] work across our digital footprint,” said Huin. 

Her logo is still McDonald’s profile picture on TikTok, where the trend originated. 

“Who knows when we’ll make the change back,” Huin said.

Zugay’s McDonald’s logo has been “catching fire” among the chain’s fans on social. And while some understand the logo refresh backstory, Huin explained that others are “genuinely concerned that McDonald’s went through some sort of an interesting visual transformation.”

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