Nicknames: we often use them. They are a teasing gesture or a term of an endearment for those with whom we have a special relationship: a close friend, a family member, or perhaps a colleague. However, many of us also develop close, intimate relationships with our food and the places that provide it. One such place is McDonald’s. The fast food giant has managed to work its way into the lives of billions around the globe. Love it or hate it, McDonald’s has become a part of our fast-paced society, and they, too, have garnered their fair share of nicknames. Let’s take a look at McDonald’s monikers from around the world.
First stop: the Americas. In Canada, you will often hear McDonald’s referred to as “Ronchin Ronnies” or “MacDoh” (Quebecois French slang). In the United States, the birthplace of McDonald’s, you may be invited to “Mickey-D’s” or “the Golden Arches,” or the sometimes more cynically dubbed “McCancer.” Travelling a bit further south to Mexico, many of the Spanish speaking countries have quite similar nicknames for the fast food franchise; you will come across the likes of “McDonaldos” or “McDonas.” Hopping across the equator to South America, the Colombian favorite for McDonald’s is “McDonal.”
With over 7,700 restaurants, Europe has become McDonald’s second largest market. So it comes as no surprise that Europeans have created numerous nicknames for the famed eatery. In Britain, McDonald’s is fondly referred to as “Placcy-D’s” – in reference to the plastic-like quality of the food – and Mackey-D’s. In France, it’s “McDo” while in Germany McDonald’s touts several nicknames: “Mekkes”, “Mekki”, “Mäckes”, and “McDoof”– meaning “McStupid” in reference to the questionable nutritional content and arguably garish signage. In Eastern Europe, nicknames range from “Mec” in Romania to “Meki” in Hungary.
Though McDonald’s is currently experiencing negative fall-out due to a meat-sourcing controversy affecting the APMEA division (Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa) and China specifically, it remains a well-known and often frequented fast-food provider. In China, McDonald’s patrons use the transliterated name “Maidanglao.” In its biggest Asian market, Japan, McDonald’s frequenters use the name “Makku” and “Makudo.” In Hong Kong, you’ll likely hear “Mak kee” while in Cambodia’s native language of Khmer, the slang term for McDonald’s is “MacDohNo.”
Last stop: Australasia. In New Zealand, you’ll find McDonald’s commonly referred to as “McDees.” In Australia, its nickname is “Macca’s.” This nickname was so popular – according to a survey, about 50% of Australians use it – that in Australia, McDonald’s changed its name! Only for a month, though. In 2013, in celebration of Australia Day, 13 McDonald’s locations throughout Australia officially changed their signage to read “Macca’s” for a month.
So as you can see, McDonald’s means something a little different to everyone. It’s important to note that even brands as big as McDonald’s aren’t untouchable. In August, post meat-scare in Asia, their global sales dropped 2.3% while AMPEA region sales dropped 7.3%. But all hope is not lost; the Golden Arches have proven their resilience in the past when faced with various food scandals, such as the 2012 antibiotics-pumping crisis. When you’ve reached the level of notoriety that McDonald’s has, you’re bound to accumulate quite a hefty collection of nicknames. The key is to always keep an eye on your public image so that your nicknames are a nod to your success and popularity rather than a shot at your weaknesses and failures.
If you’re interested in learning more about CSOFT’s globalization and localization solutions, don’t forget to subscribe to our RSS feed for automatic updates.