McDonald's decided in 2018 that customers want more meat on breakfast and lunch sandwiches. / <a href=''>McDonalds</a> McDonald's decided in 2018 that customers want more meat on breakfast and lunch sandwiches. / <a href=''>McDonalds</a>

McDonald’s Spent $48 Million to Push Bacon in February

Note: Advertising strategy is an important part of the restaurant business. Skift Table continues to look at the top spenders on television ads for the previous month across the industry.

Last month’s Super Bowl drew the attention of many top restaurant chains, as brands looked to take advantage of the millions of viewers tuning in to the telecast around the world.

While some brands, like Burger King, ran ads during the big game, other chains notably opted to air commercials during pregame shows to avoid the $5.25 million price tag CBS charged per 30-second commercial. This included Pizza Hut — the National Football League’s official sponsor— which continued to roll out its Abe Lincoln campaign featuring a revamped $5 lineup.

Meanwhile, award shows like the Grammy’s and the Oscars received their fair share of attention too, with the likes McDonald’s and Domino’s paying networks for primetime slots. Advertising during popular sitcoms and adult-oriented cartoons additionally remained a constant for brands in February.

Inside the Numbers

McDonald’s led all companies in advertising dollars spent at $48 million, less than what the chain allocated in January. Taco Bell (second on the list) cut its TV advertising funding by nearly half, likely due to Grubhub picking up most of the tab for its joint commercial with the chain touting limited time free delivery. Grubhub reportedly spent just under $7 million in ad dollars in February.

The biggest surprise of the month was Arby’s, which catapulted up 26 spots from January to crack the top 10 in advertising dollars spent. The quick service restaurant has completed a large sales turnaround in recent years by relying more on promotions and new deli meats to entice customers, according to Forbes. The chain’s success also led its parent company to acquire both Buffalo Wild Wings and Sonic in 2018.

Overall, quick service restaurants and pizza chains dominated TV advertising again in February, with Yum Brands’ subsidiaries — Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC — in the top 10 for the fourth consecutive month.  Olive Garden and Applebee’s, the casual restaurants that cracked the top 10 in January, ended February at 11 and 14, respectively, after shelling out more than $10 million each.

Top Spending By Brands

BrandAiringsPrimetime AiringsEstimated SpendIndustry
McDonald’s80751358$48,045,095Quick Serve
Taco Bell189783664$37,834,884Quick Serve
Burger King161292858$30,266,012Quick Serve
Pizza Hut63661164$24,003,927Pizza
Arby’s49861082$18,601,014Quick Serve
Little Caesars Pizza119392222$17,421,320Pizza
KFC83921437$16,673,463Quick Serve
Wendy’s109591911$16,030,562Quick Serve
Subway59801212$12,887,690Quick Serve

Information is provided by TV advertising attention analytics company

Most-Run Ads by Brand

Below are the top advertisements run by each brand in the top five of TV ad dollars spent in February 2019, along with a list of the most popular programs and networks chosen by chains for airtime.

1. McDonald’s

Top ad: Fry Show 

Top NetworksTop Shows
CBSThe Oscars
ABCSuper Bowl Kickoff Show
NBCNBA Basketball
ESPNThe 61st Annual Grammy Awards
FoxThe Walking Dead

2. Taco Bell

Top Ad: The Go-Getters

Top NetworksTop Shows
Comedy CentralNBA Basketball
FOXSouth Park
TNT2019 NBA All-Sar Game
ABCThe Walking Dead

3. Domino’s

Top Ad: Points for Pies

Top NetworksTop Shows
CBSSuper Bowl Kickoff Show
TBSThe 61st Annual Grammy Awards
UnivisionFamily Guy

 4. Burger King

Top Ad: Andy

Top NetworksTop Shows
CBSSuper Bowl LIII
TNTNBA Basketball
ESPN2019 NBA All-Star Game
TBSSouth Park
MTVFamily Guy

5. Pizza Hut

Top Ad: Look at That Crust

Top NetworksTop Shows
CBSSuper Bowl Kickoff Show
ABCThe Super Bowl Today
FOX2019 Daytona 500
Adult SwimCollege Basketball
ESPNNBA Basketball

Information is provided by TV advertising attention analytics company

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