In the land where fish 'n chips often passes for fast food, McDonald's Golden Arches are a mouth-watering sight for died-in-the-wool beef eaters in search of a quick but tasty meal.

Nonetheless, a fleet serving McDonald's outlets in the UK recently applied state-of-the-art graphics to its rolling stock in a design appetizing to the eye.

The fleet operated by London-based McDonald's Restaurants Ltd. actually had two goals in mind.

First, make the menu items of its American parent as visible as possible to British customers.

Second, use graphic materials on trailers and truck bodies that would be both environmentally friendly and cost-effective over the long haul.

FRESH DESIGN The fresh design makes full use of McDonald's globally familiar red-and-yellow corporate colors along with the advertising tag line, "Enjoy More," currently employed by the English branch of the restaurant chain.

Appropriately enough, various famous McDonald's foods are the centerpiece of each graphic display.

According to Jacqui Furland, marketing manager for McDonald's Restaurants Ltd., the graphics were fashioned with the help of special MOVIE (Measurement of Vehicle Image Effectiveness) software.

Created by 3M to measure the wallop packed by onboard advertising, MOVIE is based on British government transportation statistics that ensure the data is unbiased.

"The software showed that the cost-per-thousand viewing on truck equipment was only one-half pound (Sterling)," says Furland, "compared to the average cost of a 96-sheet billboard of one and a half pounds."

The software specifically helps determine the size of the graphic needed to make the maximum impact on motorists and other passersby.

UK highway authorities use the same MOVIE program to make road signs more visible and recognizable from a distance.

DIFFERENT SIDES In this case, on every side of each trailer or truck body a different popular menu item is portrayed appetizingly and in sizes much bigger than real life.

"This was done," notes Furland, "to promote the full product range, working on the view that you never look at both sides of a trailer at the same time."

On trailers, the food image takes up about a third of the available space. On truck bodies, it consumes about half the side panel.

Furland points out that special UV inks were used so a smaller screen-print mesh could be used to ensure a sharper image. These inks are also less harmful to the environment during the drying process than typical solvent-based inks.

That was an important consideration for McDonald's, which prides itself on maintaining a "green" corporate image everywhere it operates stores.

The graphics also make use of the Controltac adhesive system, which lets film be positioned and repositioned as needed before final application.

What's more, says Furland, the Controltac system will allow easy removal of the graphic material when it comes time to freshen the look of the vehicles.

The materials are covered by 3M under a "Match Component System" five-year warranty, which matches the design's expected lifespan.

According to Furland, McDonald's views the warranty as "complete peace of mind."

The end result is driving more sales at less cost, and with less worry.

What more could you enjoy from a vehicle graphics program-there, here or anywhere?