McDonald’s food will never be confused with organic homemade cooking, but the fast-food chain has been looking for ways to change its unhealthy image for quite some time. Now, the company is registering a new trademark slogan that could help with its re-branding process.
According to Ragan’s PR Daily, McDonald’s recently filed a U.S. trademark registration for the slogan, “The Simpler the Better.” Marketing professionals and consumers have already begun to speculate that the new slogan could signify a massive upheaval of the restaurant’s menu to include healthier options.
While the registration did raise some eyebrows in the industry, the fast-food giant may just be covering their bases by trademarking slogans for potential future use. However, McDonald’s is staying mum on their intentions behind the slogan — for now.
“We routinely file intent-to-use trademark applications as part of our regular course of business. We can’t share details at this time as to how this trademark may or may not be used,” a McDonald’s spokesperson said.
It typically takes about 10 to 14 months to get a U.S. federally registered trademark, so the menu changes being tied to the new slogan wouldn’t hit restaurants until at least 2017. McDonald’s has already been testing several healthier items in select markets across the country for months, including a “Simple Delights” menu that features options under 300 calories.
The trademark could also be McDonald’s response to growing frustration from its franchisees, who have complained that the chain’s complex menu is hindering employee productivity. If implemented, “The Simpler the Better” could signify shorter food preparation times, allowing employees to perform other duties around the restaurant.
The consensus seems to be that McDonald’s is just implementing its bureaucratic right to trademark something that they may use in the future. As Business Insider recently reported, this certainly would not be the first time that McDonald’s registered a trademark that never saw the light of day.
In 2014, the company trademarked the phrase, “Lovin’ > Hating,” which prompted the ire of consumers who didn’t appreciate math symbols in their fast-food slogans. In 2012, McDonald’s finally canceled its trademark of the phrase, “I am Asian,” which was registered in 2004 as part of a campaign to reach Asian-American consumers.
There were also The McCruncher (a budget burger topped with crispy onions,) The McEgg (a burger topped with a steamed egg,) and dozens of other failed “McItems.”
McDonald’s has sparingly used most of these failed slogans and products, so “The Simpler the Better” could soon be added to this dubious list.