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BrandIndex also found in its research that Burger King’s and McDonald’s health-focused announcements drove greater word-of-mouth promotion, which the firm calculates by asking its survey respondents which brands they’ve discussed with friends and family over the preceding two weeks.

Among health-focused consumers, Burger King’s word-of-mouth score rose from 13 to 14.9 the day Satisfries rolled out, rising to a peak of 16.2 six days later and settling at 13.2 on Oct. 3. For parents, the brand’s word-of-mouth score was 23.7 on Sept. 24, when the new fries launched, and reached a peak of 28.4 three days later before falling steadily to 16.2 on Oct. 3.

McDonald’s word-of-mouth score among health-focused consumers rose to 24.8 the day it announced its fruit-and-vegetable initiative, compared with 23.4 the day before. It reached a peak of 26.7 two days later and also fell steadily to 18.7 on Oct. 3.

Parents’ word-of-mouth score for McDonald’s — which ranged widely from a low of negative 10 on Sept. 14 to 32.4 on Sept. 26, when the brand made its announcement — peaked at 35.9 the day after the chain said it would sell more fruits and vegetables. That word-of-mouth score withered the most, to 7.1 on Oct. 3.

Ted Marzilli, chief executive of New York-based BrandIndex, surmised that the word-of-mouth score did not increase as much for McDonald’s as it did for Burger King after their respective announcements, perhaps because McDonald’s scale and advertising strength give it a much higher base of awareness already.

“I think this is due to McDonald’s being part of the conversation about the QSR space to a much greater degree than Burger King,” Marzilli said. “McDonald’s does have a higher percentage of consumers seeing and hearing things about it, so its announcement is more likely to get lost in the sea of other things that people are seeing and hearing about the brand.”

Contact Mark Brandau at mark.brandau@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN