Former McDonald’s Australia marketing chief: there’s nothing wrong with stealing good ideas

Joe TalcottThe former marketing director of McDonald’s has said that there is nothing wrong with stealing good ideas.

Joe Talcott, who led the fast food chain’s Australian marketing operation for more than five years before moving to News Limited for a similar period, told Mumbrella in Cannes today: “At McDonald’s we proudly stole good ideas – as long as they were from within the company.”

“Marketing trade publications used to be hung up on who’s copied who. It was almost as if they could not acknowledge that two people could not possibly come up with the same idea, which is ludicrous,” said Talcott, who is now chief creative officer at Creatism Is.

“It is even more ludicrous in the age of the internet, where ideas are shared and copied in seconds,” he said. “Particularly, since the consumer rarely has any idea where the idea has come from, nor do they care.”

“They just notice if it is good or it is bad.”

“The first response when marketers or agencies notice a similar idea to theirs is ‘they stole it from us’,” said Talcott.

“They then later realise that the idea was done somewhere else before they had thought of it.”

He added that Western marketers are overly obsessed with originality.

“In the East, the culture is more about doing things with extreme precision. If it’s a copy, the craft of producing an exact copy is not only acknowledged, it’s seen as worthwhile,” he said.

Talcott, who was APAC marketing director of McDonald’s in the nineties, was behind the roll out of McDonald’s I’m lovin’ it repositioning in 2004.


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