Tim Staples
Piyush Kumar

USA Today spoke with marketing professor Piyush Kumar to help explain the thinking behind McDonald's new "signs" advertisement.

The ad, which aired during the Golden Globes, features messages on McDonald's billboards across the country through the years. The company notes on its Tumblr page, "there's a story behind every one that captures a moment in time and reflects the lives of the community it serves."

The messages range from birth announcements to "We Remember 9/11" and "Boston Strong," all played out under the golden arches.

The campaign comes as the fast-food giant struggles with weak sales numbers.

"McDonald's has gotten a lot of bad press over the past year and they are trying to create an image that says 'we care,' said Kumar, who has done research on slogans. "The problem is that some wonder what McDonald's has to do with these national tragedies."

In a statement from McDonald's USA, the brand said they are "happy" that, "the powerful Signs commercial has sparked commentary from consumers." The company said the advertisement is achieving a larger campaign goal, "to listen more and have a deeper conversation with customers."

The full article is available online.