McDonald’s Ingeniously Integrates Traditional and Digital Advertising – Campaign Analysis

October 15, 2017

In our Campaign Analysis series, we bring you our analysis of outstanding campaigns and how they resonated with the brand’s customers. In today’s installation, we will explore how McDonald’s managed to fuse traditional video advertising with a digital experience. Have you ever noticed that McDonald’s coke tastes a little bit better than other fast food franchises? Well, their fans have certainly noticed and took to the internet to search for the reason. McDonald’s used that brilliantly.

Search It
On April 10th, 2017, a YouTube channel named “That place where Coke tastes SO good” posted a video titled “Search it.” The video featured Mindy Kaling, star of popular TV shows, such as The Mindy Project and The Office, wearing a yellow dress against a red background (sounds familiar?), and she instructed the viewers to google the phrase “That place where Coke tastes SO good” That’s it. That was the ad, there was no mention of McDonald’s during the 15 seconds at all, not even once.

That Place
3 days later, the second video of the campaign was released on the same channel, titled “That Place”, an extended 30 seconds version of the original video. In the additional 15 seconds of this video, Mindy capitalizes on the result people are going to find when they google the phrase. What’s brilliant about this campaign is that McDonald’s hasn’t set up a specific landing page or a paid search ad related to the keyword. They leveraged the already ongoing online conversation about their product without using any additional resources.

In the third and final video before the big reveal, we can see multiple items in the video with McDonald’s logo blurred. Finally, the secret is unraveled in a 4th video, titled Cancelled, that was uploaded by McDonald’s official channel on YouTube. In the video, we see multiple celebrations that were supposed to take place along with the reveal, but they decide to call it off last minute. However, by the end of the video, it’s revealed that the place has been McDonald’s all along, and the logo finally appears for the first time.

How did the campaign do on social media?
So, what did the fans actually think of the campaign? Let’s see. The first video, Search It, received 3,755,945 views on Youtube, it was liked 9,000 times and disliked 13,000 times. The second video, That Place, was viewed 86,964 times. 112 people liked the video and 198 disliked it. The third video, Pixelated, had 13,576 views, 69 likes and 66 dislikes. The reveal video, Cancelled, was watched 113,495 times, liked 528 times and disliked 379 times.

We notice that the total number of dislikes (13,264) outweighs the number of likes (9,181) Unfortunately, McDonald’s has disabled the comments on the videos, so we can’t get direct audience feedback about the reason why. However, a 10 seconds video related to the campaign was posted on the brand’s Facebook page, and it fared much better. The short video received 976,600 views, 5,400 likes, 403 love reactions, 181 laughs, 30 wow reactions, only 10 angry reactions, 1,195 shares and 1,914 comments. Most of the comments are positive, confirming that they prefer McDonald’s Coke is better while the negative comments mostly relate to the service. This might explain the number of dislikes we mentioned earlier.

Did the campaign achieve its objective?
The campaign was used to promote McDonald’s $1 any size Coke offer. We can see in the chart below that around the time the campaign was released, the phrase was searched 165,000 times in April, 2,400 times in May, 1,000 times in June and 590 times in July.

Here’s also a case study that showcases the earned media impressions and product trial increase resulted from the campaign. The campaign was created by, We Are Unlimited, Omnicom’s dedicated McDonald’s agency.

Campaign Takeaways

1- Know your audience
The whole reason why McDonald’s went this route is that they targeted millennials. The research showed “how they’re discovering information” they trust, said Deborah Wahl, chief marketing officer of McDonald’s for the United States.  

2- Don’t always focus on the hard sell
This campaign was completely unbranded, yet it was still a success. Instead of droning on about how tasty their Coke is, McDonald’s used UGC and minimum resources to highlight the benefits they offer. This resonated well because McDonald’s understood that “(millennials) are very influenced by word of mouth and what their peers say” as Ms. Dahl says.

3- Integration and Active Participation
The campaign aired on TV and was posted online on a new channel and other forms of digital advertising. They were all fully integrated with each other to deliver the maximum impact. The campaign also turned passive viewers into active users. Most people nowadays use their phone while watching TV and McDonald’s managed to capture that cross-screen experience.

4- Aim for the best, but expect the worst
Ms. Wahl said that they expected a positive result, however, they prepared for the worst. Anyone could have applied SEO techniques to manipulate the results, and McDonald’s were at the ready. They made an ad where Mindy guesses who could have sabotaged the results.

Compilation of all the ads used in the campaign

What do you think of McDonald’s creative use of digital media? Share your opinion in the comments!



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