Read How McDonald's Went 'Public' with NPR

August 2021

With their most recent NPR campaign, McDonald’s took a new approach by going public – speaking directly to a discerning media audience. McDonald’s recognizes the importance of brand trust and the difficulty of earning it. 77% of consumers think it’s harder to trust brands now more than ever, and 49% said they have boycotted a brand because their values didn’t align.¹  That sentiment extends to NPR’s discerning audience. 92% of NPR listeners agree it is important for companies to contribute to the greater good through business practices or social responsibility efforts.² With efforts like the Ronald McDonald House Charities, McDonald’s has invested in communities and those in need for decades.³ With their recent campaign, McDonald’s wanted to remind listeners that their service extends beyond their food.


Bring McDonald’s stories to multicultural consumers to build brand trust and to drive awareness of their corporate social responsibility efforts. 


McDonald’s is already a household name, but the brand has more to share — which made NPR Sponsorship’s Product Inspiration Mid-rolls a perfect fit. These 60-second custom audio spots showcased inspiring, impactful stories that demonstrated how McDonalds shows up and invests in communities. And NPR listeners value the effort, with 82% saying they appreciate when NPR sponsors use their messages to share how they are doing good in the world.²

These brand stories found a home in programming especially known for their thought provoking, engaging content, including shows like TED Radio Hour, How I Built This, and It’s Been A Minute. McDonald’s also leveraged research through NPR’s podcast listener panel to measure campaign impact. 

Listen to McDonald’s creative:



McDonald’s saw great improvements in brand perception, especially in increased trust and recognition that McDonald’s sources ingredients from the U.S. whenever possible.⁴ These brand stories were perceived as 22% more trustworthy and 18% more likable than restaurant industry benchmarks. And all of the brand’s custom audio outperformed even NPR’s own above-average benchmarks in being sincere, trustworthy, likable, and empowering.⁵


lift in agreement that McDonald’s is a brand I trust.


lift in highly positive (8-10) brand opinion.⁴


greater brand recall among listeners who heard McDonald’s Product Inspiration Mid-rolls.

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  1. Ford Trends Report, 2020
  2. NPR Sponsorship Survey, Kantar, August 2020. Base: Age 25-64
  3. Ronald McDonald House Charities²
  4. NPR Listener Survey, December 2020
  5. Veritonic, March 2021
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