A Freudian M

A Freudian M

I saw the latest McDonald’s ad promoting their “original” burger which reminded me of one of the stories I wrote for the book.

While I would have agreed with Cheskin’s recommendation to retain the M, I’m not sure I would have got to his reasoning. 

A Freudian M

The Golden Arches are one of the most instantly recognised brand icons in the world; they were originally real arches and part of the restaurant design guidelines.

They were first introduced in the 1950s but by the mid-1960s there was debate as to whether or not the arches should be dropped. 

Louis Cheskin, a designer and psychologist, who worked with McDonald’s at the time, agreed that it might be sensible to move away from them as an architectural feature, but he argued strongly, and ultimately successfully, that “the arches had Freudian applications to the subconscious mind of the consumer and were great assets in marketing McDonald’s food”. 

He went on to say that the arches were seen as “mother McDonald’s breasts, a useful association if you’re replacing home-made food”.

In fact, “Give Mom a Night Off” had been an early advertising slogan, as a trip to McDonald’s meant no cooking, serving or washing up.

The stylised M is still part of the logo to this day, and presumably those useful associations remain.


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