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McDonald’s Spent Over $52 Million on TV Advertising in November 2018

Where do chain restaurants run national advertising campaigns when it isn’t football season? As November showed in 2018, brands will open their wallets to spend on one of two things before all others: National Football League games (mainly on Sundays) or college football games (mainly Saturdays).

It’s obvious to anyone watching the restaurant industry, but advertising on television is a huge part of the business. At the end of each month Skift Table will look at the top spenders on television advertising across all sectors for the restaurant industry. 

November is a typically strong advertising period during football games, with high viewership for rivalry contests at the college level and holiday games at the pro level.

Still, a unique collection of non-sports programs snuck into the top five programs for the top five spenders. The most notable may be The Walking Dead, which was a top five program for McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Burger King.

Who, What, When and Where

Spending on non-prime time ads beat out prime-time placement by rate of six to one or greater this month. Live television, which viewers are more reluctant to time shift, makes paying a premium for advertising all the more justifiable. The brands largely promoted fast food and pizza, and targeted men split rather equally between the 18-34, 35-54, and 55 and up age groups.

One exception? Starbucks, which targeted women most of the time and aimed at the 35-54 demo.

Casual dining, while placing in the top twenty of restaurants ad spends for the month, couldn’t crack the top 10. Casual came in at 13, 15, and 17: Applebee’s ($11.9m), Olive Garden ($9.6m), and Outback Steakhouse ($8.7m), respectively.

Among the top ten are three Yum! Brands: Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC. No other parent company came close to Yum’s spend; Inspire Brands’s Arby’s, Sonic, and Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants were ranked 11, 12, and 24 in spending.

We did expect to see more from Papa John’s as the brand has attempted to right its ship by sending a clear message that it is no longer the brand of founder and former CEO and Chairman John Schnatter. It spent just over $8 million airing 13 different ads under 6,000 times in November.

Information is provided by TV advertising attention analytics company

Top Spending by Brands

BrandAiringsPrimetime AiringsEstimated SpendSector
McDonald’s14,7792290$52,907,297Quick Serve
Taco Bell15,8692998$42,794,400Quick Serve
Burger King15,9502876$31,990,326Quick Serve
Pizza Hut84291524$23,652,895Pizza
Wendy’s89901687$22,911,936Quick Serve
KFC75551299$21,929,100Quick Serve
Starbucks1449280$19,891,697Quick Serve
Subway61991100$19,285,061Quick Serve
Little Caesars Pizza11,4862050$14,926,487Pizza

Most-Run Ads by Brand

Below are the top five spending restaurant brands in November 2018, including a video of the top advertisement each brand ran, as well as the top five programs and the top five networks each brand used.

1. McDonalds

Top Ad: Half-Court Challenge

Top ProgramTop Network
NFL FootballCBS
College FootballFOX
SpongeBob SquarePantsNBC
The Walking DeadESPN
The Big Bang TheoryABC

2. Taco Bell

Top Ad: Xbox One X Sweepstakes

Top ProgramTop Network
College FootballESPN
NFL FootballFOX
NBA BasketballABC
The Walking DeadESPN2

3. Burger King

Top Ad: Crazy Deal

Top ProgramTop Network
NFL FootballFOX
College FootballESPN
NBA BasketballAMC
The Walking DeadMTV
South ParkABC

4. Dominos

Top Ad: Pizza Night Hero

Top ProgramTop Network
NFL FootballFOX
College FootballESPN
College BasketballABC
The OfficeTelemundo

5. Pizza Hut

Top Ad: Best Sides

Top ProgramTop Network
College FootballFOX
NFL FootballCBS
Law & Order SVUABC
The OfficeESPN
Keeping Up with the KardashiansUSA Network

Information is provided by TV advertising attention analytics company

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