McDonald's Canada was recognized as the 2012 Marketer of the Year by Marketing magazine at a gala event held earlier this week.

The company was recognized for "venturing into entirely new territory and setting a precedent for transparency."

"Over the past year, we've taken our marketing efforts in bold new directions," said Joel Yashinsky, chief marketing officer, McDonald's Canada. "We've broken into new markets, engaged in meaningful open-dialogue with our customers and found new ways to tell our story. It's an honor to have these efforts recognized."

Each year, winners are chosen for meeting the following criteria:

  • Clear vision about how to connect with and serve their customers;
  • A willingness to embrace innovation and risk; and
  • An ambitious determination to change the advertising and media landscape.

The judges chose McDonald's because of its new "Our Food. Your Questions" campaign, as well as its national McCafé launch, among other programs.

The Our Food. Your Questions campaign, introduced in June, is an interactive, digital platform that invites customers to ask questions about McDonald's food and receive a personalized response. The platform gained notoriety when a customer asked why the chain's food looks differently in ads than it does in person. Hope Bagozzi, director of Marketing at McDonald's Canada, walked consumers through the steps and provided behind-the-scenes video of the marketing process, and surprised those who believed the food was different.

The McCafé launch began in late 2011 and carried over into 2012. Judges considered this rollout as a "courageous and successful step into new markets amidst heavy competition." For measure, McDonald's added a retail component to its McCafé line in November.

Other McDonald's campaigns that were recognized include:

  • The AtoMc Hockey program that supports active lifestyles among Canadian youth;
  • McTraffic" reports featuring McDonald's drive-thru locations as potential detours to avoid traffic;
  • "McLobster Love" sight-seeing bus tours of Maritime cities; and
  • Innovative billboards advertising 24-hour restaurants that are only visible at night.

Upon receiving the award, McDonald's Canada acknowledged its agency partners, Cossette, Golin Harris, NATIONAL, OMD, Tribal DDB and Watt.

Read more about marketing and branding efforts.

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