Globalisation of McDonald’s: Comparative Study Morocco and France

In recent years, much interest had focused on global
marketing, where a standard marketing program is used in all markets.
Part of global marketing is global advertising where the same basic
advertising approach is used in all markets (Belch & Belch, 2001,
p.712). Actually, advertising is changing rapidly all over the world,
debatably becoming more global in its practice. Such globalism,
neo-liberal ideology of rule by the world market, “is partly in
response to rapidly developing international media and global
communication systems” explains Yahya R.Kamalipour (2007, p.272). The
latter are becoming more and more dependent on global markets to
maintain them. Also, advertising is changing in response to a
corresponding multiculturalism which refers to the existence of groups
representing different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Indeed,
Warren Berger (2001) stated that “advertisers are realizing they have
to live beyond their own borders” (p.694). Those agencies are asked to
find ways of reaching all those people by associating a brand with a
widely understood set of symbols.

In his classic 1983 book “The
Marketing Imagination”, Harvard marketing professor Theodore Levitt
stated that “the world was becoming a common marketplace where people
have the same basic needs, wants, desires, and taste no matter where
they live” (Quoted in Berger, 2001, p. 697). Consequently, advertising
is becoming global in its unity of strategies and tactics as well as do
media worldwide. Kamalipour (2007) explains that “Some companies, such
as Nokia, are trying to use global advertising campaign to create a
more-unified and wide-reaching identity” (p.277). Nevertheless, while
making a standardized message, Nokia is yet counting essentially on
visual images and is preparing different ads for different locations by
considering local actors and settings where the ad has been placed.
Other global companies that use the global advertising include
Gillette, Coca-Cola, Ford, and Nestle among many others.

advertising is often customized and adapted to local, rather than
global, tastes and perspectives; in fact, some advertising would be
rejected, if used elsewhere. For example, La Coste, a French apparel
and accessories company, has used an impudent advertisement to promote
for its new fragrance for men called La Coste a few years ago.
Actually, the advertisement that was only broadcasted in some
countries, like European channels, used a nude man while the same man
was wearing pants in the ad used in others like Morocco.

This shows
that advertising should be adapted to the needs of a society.
“Differences in culture, market, and economic development; consumers
needs and usage patterns; media availabilities; and legal restrictions
make it extremely difficult to develop an effective universal approach
to marketing and advertising” (Belch and Belch, 2001, p.684). McDonalds
is also a point in the case; McDonalds adapts its products and
advertising to each nation. This paper is a comparative case study of
how McDonalds does customize its advertising and products to the needs,
wants, values, traditions… of the country where it is opened. Two
countries are investigated, Morocco and France.

According to its
universal website, McDonalds is the world’s leading foodservice
organization with more than 31,600 restaurants in 121 countries serving
52 million customers each day around the globe. Their mission is “to
promote Diversity and Inclusion among their Employees, Owner/Operators
and Suppliers who represent the diverse populations McDonald’s serves
around the globe”. It is claimed in their official website that
“McDonalds Corporation relies on the diversity of its personnel,
suppliers and customer communities to maximize innovation, growth,
competitiveness, and customer satisfaction”. Its rich history began
with its founder, Ray Kroc. The strong foundation that he built in 1954
continues today with McDonald’s vision “the commitment of [their] talented executives to keep the shine on McDonald’s arches for years to

Being present in more than 121 countries around the globe,
McDonald’s brand has become the symbol of globalization. According to
David Held (2007), Professor of Political Science at the London School
of Economics, Globalization is “the widening, deepening and speeding up
of worldwide interconnectedness in all aspects of contemporary social
life, from the cultural to the criminal, the financial to the
spiritual” (p.2). Moreover, Marshal McLuhan, a Canadian media theorist,
explains that people are living in a world that knows no
boundaries/borders because any change of one element has an impact on
other elements in the world; this is what he called “global village”.
In other words, Kant explains that in the world we are living “we are
inevitably side by side”.

On the other hand, another concept that
was derived from Globalization and adopted by Roland Robertson is
“Glocalisation”. This term was originally coined in Japan, but was made
popular by the renowned sociologist Roland Robertson.
He explains, “Glocalization means the simultaneity, the co-presence, of
both universalizing and particularizing tendencies” (Quoted in Gordon,
2006). Glocalization is a term whose origins are in the discipline of
marketing, to express the global production of the local and the
localization of the global. In other words, George Ritzer clarifies in
his article, Rethinking Globalization: Glocalization/globalization and
something/nothing, that glocalization is “the interpenetration of the
global and the local, resulting in unique outcomes in different
geographic areas” (2003, p.196). Glocalization has been used to show
the human capacity to bridge scales from local to global and vice-versa.

McDonalds, the worldwide fast food chain is not only a symbol of
globalization as explained before but is also adopting the concept of
glocalization. Actually, McDonalds is “thinking globally and acting
locally”. McDonalds has progressed from national (United States of
America) to multinational (opening restaurants in different 121
countries), and thus became a global business that has established
itself all over the world working with local cultures and needs.

the first country investigated, Morocco, the total investment of
McDonalds exceeds 300 million MAD in 25 restaurants, located in eight
different cities explains Gilbert Mellinger, a consultant in an online
Franchise Magazine. In total, 1 200 Moroccan jobs are created so far in
addition to indirect jobs with entrepreneurs and local construction
companies added Mellinger. Also, he stated later that McDonalds Morocco
has established a series of partnerships with suppliers such as Sidi
Ali (Les eaux de Oulmes), Pingouin, Foodipex, or Labosfort and also
with the factory of salads’ production in Nouaceur. The first
McDonald’s restaurant that has been opened in the Moroccan and also
African market dates back to 1992 in Casablanca (La Corniche).

McDonalds is often cited as a clear example of standardization, the
president of McDonald’s International has insisted that the company is
“as much a part of local culture as possible” (Ritzer, 2004, p. 179)
and its standard menu has been glocalised to accommodate local foods.
One example that illustrates strongly that McDonalds try to connect
local tastes and needs to its base products is offering the McArabia to
Moroccan consumers. The McDonald’s Arabia website
describes the McArabia “as a new sandwich added to its well-loved menu
in the Arabic region”. Actually, it is described that McArabia Grilled
Kofta ad Chicken is another fruit of customers’ demands for a sandwich
that is rich in local taste. The new sandwich is made of two patties of
grilled Kofta dressed with tahina sauce, lettuce, tomatoes and onions;
all wrapped in Arabic bread explains the McDonalds Arabia website.
Concerning its advertisement, its name in Moroccan billboards is
written in Arabic; in fact, that word is a transliteration of the
English word “Arabia” rendering it as: ??????, as opposed to maybe
using the Arabic word ?????.

This picture illustrates the advertisement used to promote for the McArabia in Morocco:

advertizes by glocalizing the way in which its restaurants are used.
McDonalds is adapting the architecture, the design, and the decoration
of the restaurant to local culture. Inspired by local architecture, Mc
Donald’s Fez has a terrace with views over the Medina and is decorated
with polychrome zelliges, carved wood… which characterizes the Moroccan
city. In Morocco, the menu of McDonalds is not totally different from
the one in the USA or European countries, but the restaurants are
presented as local places to linger, often for hours, over a snack. It
organizes children’s birthday parties and employs female receptionists
who deal with children and talk to parents. McDonalds Morocco
advertizing is based on the local culture by using local decorations in
its restaurants.

For example, the following pictures illustrate a
décor used by McDo to embellish the inside of its restaurant in
Marrakech as well as the red color that typify the city buildings:


the other hand, during Ramadan, McDonalds offer to consumers specific
and local menus that are customized to local culture and needs. In
fact, Harira which is a typically Moroccan food is served to Moroccans
in all McDo restaurants within Moroccan territory. In addition, they
are also provided with dates, milk, and Moroccan cookies during F’tour.
Besides, local orchestras animate the evenings of McDonald’s visitors
after F’tour which transforms McDonalds to a “glocal” establishment.
This demonstrates that McDonalds wants to maximize the satisfaction of
customers and make them find their identity in McDonald’s products, and
atmosphere. It does not hesitate to use its billboards as well as
advertisement movies to wish to all Moroccans Mabrouk Ramadan or Aid.
Arabic and French are present in all its posters to advertize for the
new products offered or events organized or sponsored by McDonalds
Morocco. Another remarkable aspect of glocalization is the presence of
the King’s pictures in almost all McDonalds Morocco.

The picture illustrates McDonalds’ wish to all Islamic nations including Morocco “Aid Mubarak”:

very important aspect of the glocalization of McDonalds in Morocco is
the certification of Halal meat. Actually, religion is taken into
consideration by the corporation in order to make people eat in its
restaurants. Culinary specialties proposed by McDonalds are definitely
respecting the culture, the religion and the expectations of Moroccans.
Eating Halal meat is primordial within Moroccan society. Thus,
McDonalds Morocco is offering and promoting for its 100% Halal meat by
writing it clearly in all advertisements and restaurants. The selection
of suppliers is made in respect of these values, based on the advice of
experts in agriculture, microbiologists, nutritionists and specialists
in the food industry as clarified by Adam Wade in Aujourd’hui le Maroc.
The regular audits are conducted in the centers of production and
distribution in which McDonald’s Morocco purchase. Hygiene is an
essential aspect for the group. Strict rules concerning restaurants and
kitchens are designed to be regularly cleaned and sanitized according
to severe procedures. In fine, Moroccans would appreciate how McDonalds
is strictly following home’s values and traditions.

McDonalds Morocco proposes different offers including Dirham Mabrouk in
which all the meals’ prices are reduced by 35%. The picture on the left
shows the Big Tasty with local taste “Gout Méchoui” emphasizing the
Halal sign at the bottom corner and the one on the right is an overview
of the prices charged with Dirhamabrouk offer:

Moroccan beneficiaries from the charitable activities of McDonalds,
there is the association “Bienfaisance Islamique” of Fez. About 90
children had received a free meal and participate in recreational
activities throughout the day. Mc Donald’s, which promotes the image of
a citizen enterprise, has conducted a series of actions such as
collecting rubbish in the beaches and collaborating with UNICEF during
Universal Children’s Day. Furthermore, it also participated in the
fundraising campaign to benefit the children of SOS Villages in 2002 at
the end of which 100 of young people were sponsored. Moreover,
McDonalds has contributed to the distribution of food and clothing
during the earthquake at Al Hoceïma.

Regarding the second country
analyzed, France is considered one of the most dynamic markets; in
2003, “the turnover of McDonald’s France has increased by 10% and
reached 2.2 billion Euros” as explained in McDonalds France website.
They specified that they have opened more than 1100 restaurants on the
French territory. The first McDonalds restaurant or as French people
prefer to call it “McDo” (pronounced MacDo) was installed in 1972, 20
years before Morocco did. According to the advertising campaign in July
2007, more than 200 restaurants are equipped with Wi-Fi; more than 700
restaurants are equipped with McDrive, more than 900 restaurants are
air-conditioned, and 70% of restaurants open until 11 pm.

McDonalds France, in contrast to Morocco which is an Islamic country,
beer could be served with meals. This is allowed because of the local
culture and values in which beer is not prohibited. Also, most of their
burgers contain bacon like McBacon or CBO. This shows that MacDo has
customized its burgers to the local needs of French consumers. Besides,
the French or European version of McArabia is McOriental which contains
the same spices, is wrapped in the same package but is not advertized
by the same name. This instance demonstrates that McDonalds may use the
same meals but different names that will suit the local market.

in France of McDonalds is much more developed and creative than in
Morocco. Indeed, MacDo France has almost one broadcast advertisement
for each of the products offered to French consumers. For example,
French channels broadcast a 23 seconds movie for the new burger CBO. It
presents it to MacDo lovers as a sandwich with a new Chicken, Bacon,
and Onion recipe that offers the perfect mix as its advertising shows.
Also, they use a lot of billboards in all cities which could be
explained by the huge amount of restaurants present in France (1100)
comparing to only 25 ones in Morocco.

tray of McDonalds French fries before going to sleep?” The new campaign
McDonalds 2007 plays on a few citations known to promote its
restaurants. Between “at night, all French fries are yellow” or “having
a nice car, it is good to get French fries”, the attempts to encourage
the consumption are well on track. However, one cannot blame anything;
the visual creation and the pop’ art character ultra colorful will
certainly dampen enthusiasm and calm the critics of junk food, explains
Olivier Mermet.

To the chagrin of some, Gallic cartoon hero,
Asterix, displaces the clown Ronald McDonald in the ‘glocalization’ of
fast food marketing in France. Grégoire Champetier, McDonalds France
marketing director, said that Asterix new campaign is an attempt to
play down the chain’s U.S. roots. He added that “The operation should
help integrate McDonald’s into French culture” (Murray Campbell, 2002).
Campbell (2002) also clarifies that using Asterix and Obelix in a
marketing campaign “represents a victory for French exceptionalism and
might even help McDonald’s in turning the tide against traditionalists
campaigning against the invasion of junk food”.

Concerning public
relations, MacDo France participates in volunteer and charitable
activities. According to the website of “La Fondation Ronald McDonald”
in France, a foundation that works for the well being of hospitalized
children and their families, there are currently several houses in
France, including Lille, Marseilles, Villejuif, Bordeaux, Strasbourg,
Toulouse, Paris, Limoges, and Nantes and soon in Grenoble. Houses
Ronald McDonald Parents will allow children to be with their relatives
and give them an emotional balance encouraging their rehabilitation.

the resistance to McDonalds Morocco, there is no direct fight against
the fast-food chain and its products. Nowadays, Moroccan habits are
changing very quickly, the way they dress, behave, speak and think
clearly shows that they are influenced by Western lifestyle.
Nevertheless, there is still an overall resistance to the globalization
among some traditional families in Morocco. Dr. Benajiba, Professor at
“Sup’Santé”, explains that it is not easy to resist to globalization
because of foreign customs exported by modern nations and adopted by
traditional ones which include also negative habits like the quality
and the manner of nutrition, the number of meals and its timings.
Moroccan food’ traditions are rich and balanced, ancestors were
witnesses; they had good health until old age. “The strong nations
created the history, the weak ones just follow” stated Dr. Benajiba.

Moroccans do not show resistance to McDonalds’ products, French people
do. MacDo France has been getting negative promotion from constant
anti-American protests by angry French farmers (Belch and Belch, 2001).
“The farmers’ movement was caused by World Trade Organization ruling
ordering Europe to accept hormone-fed beef produced in US” as claim
Belch and Belch. However, the French farmers, governed by Jose Bové, a
syndicalist and also member of the alter-globalization movement,
rejected WTO decision and were all opposed to sanctions US has imposed
on many imported French foods like Roquefort cheese, truffles and Dijon
mustard. Their manifestations have included the dumping of tons of
animal manure and rotting vegetables at McDonald’s restaurants all over
France. Also, Belch and Belch explain that the event which brought Bové
to be judged was the dismantling of McDonald’s franchise in Millau
in August 12, 1999 (2001, p. 709). His resistance was directed towards
raising awareness about McDonald’s use of hormone-treated beef. Bové
was sentenced to three months imprisonment for his role in the
incident. Another French resistance was illustrated in Lozere, in which
all the inhabitants were against the opening of MacDo restaurant. They
all argued that MacDo is a symbol of junk food, a symbol of a
merchandized world which puts the economy and profits before the
development of Man and the respect of his environment.


Morocco is offering only few meals comparing to other countries; it
would be strongly recommended to propose other products to expand their
offers and encourage more people to come eat in its restaurants.
McDonalds’ menu abroad is more diversified that in Morocco. Indeed,
some burgers proposed abroad could also fit Moroccan market. Another
suggestion is the McDelivery. Actually, the idea is to offer to
consumers a delivery to their homes. This will encourage people who do
not want to get out of their homes to order McDo meals by phone and get
them after 10 min at home. A good slogan to advertize for this service
would be “Order you meals by phone, and get them after 10 min at home”.
In fact, the McDelivery already exists in some countries like Egypt.
Another problem that could be solved is the long line of McDrive
Casablanca. Two McDrive would be a good solution for not letting people
wait a long time.

To sum up, the examples given previously in this
paper show that McDonalds, a global corporation, has adapted itself to
suit the unique Moroccan and French local market conditions. McDonalds
is globalizing Morocco and France, and Morocco and France are
localizing McDonalds which lead to the notion of Glocalization.
However, the way McDonalds advertizes for its products is different
from one country to another, and this obviously because of the
difference in culture, values, traditions, religions, and needs of
local consumers. French people express their resistance to
Mcdonalization while Moroccans are blinded by the modern and American

From McDonald’s point of view, the Big Mac is a standard
product that is sold around the world; it fits with Levitt’s (1983)
concept of a standardized product in a global market. In contrast,
customers’ judgments of what McDonalds means to them can vary
significantly. In other words, even as symbol of global
standardization, McDonalds can be read differently by different people
in different contexts.