What Are the Different Types of Fast Food Advertising?

Daphne Mallory

Fast food advertising involves conveying a franchise’s products and brand to repeat customers over an extended period of time. The different types of advertising include television and radio commercials, billboards, and Internet marketing. Sub-types within those strategies include developing product familiarity, branding, and familiar jingles and slogans. Fast food is a multi-billion dollar industry, and advertising campaigns are developed specifically to continue this trend.

Fast food advertisements usually included photos of value meals and packages.
Fast food advertisements usually included photos of value meals and packages.

Television commercials are often the most widely viewed form of fast food advertising. Food companies develop commercials that advertise their products and place the ads during high viewership times. The TV commercials usually include the company’s jingle or a familiar slogan, which is designed to catch the viewer’s attention and keep the fast food company in his mind. Commercials sometimes include recurring characters or themes, which also help to develop viewer familiarity with each specific company. Radio commercials are another common form of fast food advertising through a broadcast medium. Radio ads are placed during times when listeners are most likely to be commuting, often to encourage them to use the fast food restaurant’s drive-through service.

Direct mail campaigns for fast food are often packaged in brightly color envelopes and include coupons or discounts.
Direct mail campaigns for fast food are often packaged in brightly color envelopes and include coupons or discounts.

Direct mail is often used as a type of fast food advertising. Food companies will sometimes send out mass mailings to addresses throughout a city. These are often in the form of a flyer that promotes certain food items. The flyers usually contain coupons for specific food items in addition to information about new menu items or special promotions.

Advertisements often show people within a target demographic enjoying the restaurant's food.
Advertisements often show people within a target demographic enjoying the restaurant's food.

Billboards are often used for fast food promotion. Billboards are placed in high-traffic areas, such as streets that host heavy work commutes and freeway exits. This type of fast food advertising is also used to encourage motorists to use drive-through services. The strategy with billboards is often to include the company logo, a visually striking image or message, and directions for the motorist to locate the nearest restaurant.

Fast food chains may advertise their new items on social media pages.
Fast food chains may advertise their new items on social media pages.

Companies sometimes use wireless technology and Internet methods for fast food advertising. Some restaurants have created applications for mobile phones that customers can use to view commercials, learn about promotions, and gain coupons or discounts. Fast food restaurants often use social media websites to offer loyal customers special deals on food prices and to promote new menu items.

Fast food restaurants will also use cross-promotion methods with pop culture events as an advertising method. For example, if a popular movie is released, a fast food company will sometimes offer toys, cups, and other merchandise related to the film when customers purchase meals there.

Food advertising may highlight new drinks or specials.
Food advertising may highlight new drinks or specials.

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Discussion Comments

honeysuckle

In my opinion, fast food advertisements play a role in the fast food obesity in this country. People eat a lot of fast food, and our obesity rate is going up as a direct result.

I am currently in college and I wrote a paper on this very subject. Fast food is making us fat--the research I have found is very compelling.

DFMeyers

I see fast food advertisements everywhere. I especially like the ones in the newspaper, because they often come with coupons.

The huge billboards along the interstates and highways capture my attention the most. I love seeing a sign for a fast food joint when I am tired and need to take a break from driving.

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