October 1st will be a sad day indeed as news reaches us via RetailNews.NL  that one of our favourite ever networks – the Netherlands based McDonalds digital signage network is set to be turned off.
Hans Bruning, McDonalds Marketing Coordinator made the announcement in the magazine RetailTrends. Basically he said** (we are translating here) “We (i.e McDonalds Netherlands) received the view from USA HQ that advertising from external parties should not be allowed in their own restaurants … the medium does not bring enough added value if McDonalds would ‘insource’ the advertising. Our restaurants are a pleasant place to stay and we don’t need screens for that. If you look at the investment and what it brings to McDonalds, there is little left. So stopping the project is the best thing to do.”.
This a rather strange remark, as we all know that commercial advertising on McDonald’s screens can be seen in many countries (and as long as it fits in with the family values that McDonald’s purports to promote it has been in our experience a good fit – McDonald’s have no problem in promoting third party products with Happy Meal promotions do they?). Nothing was mentioned in terms of sales uplift – again we have seen good examples in many countries so it is probably doubtful we think that the US head office really has made this sort of statement.
Frankly many McDonald’s and their franchisees don’t get it – we’ve been involved off and on with McDonald’s networks, pilots and trials globally for 5 years or so now – even co-ordinating a global media summit for all their countries (including the US) at one time.
McDonald’s are happy to have music in their restaurants but neither they nor the music suppliers seems to have a clue about how to put video / digital signage alongside that and make it all work seemlessly together (with or without third party ad revenue).
A sad day for Ronald McDonald in DutchLand. Let’s hope that other countries are not so short sighted. The German McDonald’s network  seems to go from strength to strength, so too does Enqii’s work with them in the UK (shown here ) and 1,000’s of McCafes are getting the digital signage treatment courtesy of NEC and STRATACACHE these days we see in the US (though we doubt that has been announced officially anywhere yet).
Perhaps ‘McDonald’s Stopt Met Digital Signage’ literally translated means “It’s just the stupid Dutch” ?
**The network of course was deployed by Media Librium  since its launch in 2004 in what was a joint deal with the largest franchise owners in the country. IT Services and EPOS were included alongside the deal and it’s just as likely that this contract ended and McDonald’s decided to take some of this in-house.