2018 Winners & Shortlists

CASHING IN ON COMEDY AS CURRENCY FOR MCDONALD'S UAE

Client/BrandMCDONALD'S UAE
Product/ServiceTHE SCHNITZEL
EntrantWEBER SHANDWICK MENA Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Type of EntrySectors
CategoryTravel, Leisure, Retail, Restaurants & Fast Food Chains
Idea Creation WEBER SHANDWICK MENA Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
PR WEBER SHANDWICK MENA Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Additional Company UM MENA Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Additional Company 2 FP7/DXB Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Additional Company 3 SHADOW PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

The Campaign

Our human insights told us that mid-January is typically when most people are miserable due to failed New Year resolutions and dissipating memories of vacations. It was the perfect time to cheer them up with humor and great-tasting chicken! The Idea: Jokes become currency. For one day only, chicken fans were invited to channel their inner comic, simply walk up to the counter and tell their version of the iconic ‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’ gag to get instantly rewarded with a free Schnitzel! This simple yet unexpected idea grabbed attention. In a nutshell, we crafted a dynamic, fun story around The Schnitzel to provide media with interesting material and a reason to cover the launch (there’s only so much you can do to make a fried piece of chicken interesting to journalists, if you stick to core product communication).

Execution

Phase 1 (pre-launch product seeding) – 9 January To warm up media and influencers ahead of launch and pre-promote the consumer call to action, the first batch of Schnitzels were hand delivered to an exclusive list of recipients one week before the activation. Phase 2 (coverage generation) - from 9 January Extensive media “sell in’s” secured mass coverage across the majority of the UAE’s key print and online targets in the lead up. On the activation day, we prepared the front of house McDonald’s staff to engage customers, creating a positive and memorable experience defined by laughter. A camera team discreetly positioned captured reactions for use post-campaign. Phase 3 (social media engagement) - 15 – 31 January To reach the target audience, social media feeds were crucial. An innately shareable idea was brought to life through exclusive video content such as a segment with Gulf News and celebrated post-activation.

Earned PR Exposure ($0 media spend) – demonstrating product awareness and positioning of McDonald’s as a legitimate player in the chicken category tallied 4.4 million across 35 unique articles achieving 97% of our ‘golden basket’ tier 1 media including major dailies: Gulf News, Khaleej Times, The National, Al Ittihad, Al Khaleej and prominent consumer lifestyle outlets including Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Time Out and Lovin’ Dubai. Coverage saw 100% key message penetration and earned $220,000 in equivalent media value. 1/3 of media also promoted content via social channels. Footfall uplift of 30% compared to the same day in the previous week, and there was a 45% increase in day-one sales compared to other limited edition products (The Asian Burger). On the day of the activation, paid product sales jumped by a whopping 125% Vs launch day. Positive engagement with McDonald’s UAE community sparked 96,928 engagement actions and 810,229 impressions. Twitter improved by 30% over standard engagement benchmarks, and our activation video had 9,000+ views. That’s no chicken feed! Word of mouth for McDonald’s increased by 10% during the campaign as recorded on Brand Index. Client feedback: “We fell in love with the idea from the moment it was pitched to us. Humor is a universal and uplifting emotion and its application allowed us to not only drive demonstrable awareness and trial for this new product, it drove positivity among consumers during the notorious ‘January Blues’. This campaign proved to be a big hit with media, our staff and, most importantly, our customers."

The Situation

A campaign conceptualized with PR at the core, designed to earn editorial exposure and consumer engagement. A PR potent creative approach deployed to drive talkability for an overtly commercial story (a new product offering) and drive trial and consideration in a competitive and cluttered category, dominated by other Quick Service Restaurants. A campaign executed on a shoestring budget earning blanket coverage in tier 1 press and demonstrating tangible business impact. A testament to the power of a good PR idea in a category dominated by media dollars.

The Strategy

Target Audience: Mass mainstream public from broad socio-economic backgrounds. Anyone who loves chicken and fast food. Target Media: Tier 1 mass news and lifestyle outlets (English and Arabic, skewed towards English). PR Planning and Approach: With a digital savvy audience consuming and sharing the majority of their news online, we focused on creating content targeting high reach news and consumer lifestyle portals and social feeds. A tease, announce and sustain campaign kept conversation alive via Earned and Social channels over three weeks. A ‘no stone unturned’ approach secured blanket coverage enhanced by exclusive content e.g. Gulf News dedicated and radio conversation with Virgin and Radio One. The PR team meticulously planned every aspect from ideation and concept development through to integrating with partner agencies to amplify the initiative through the line. It also drove internal communications, briefing front of house staff to align on messaging and deliver a memorable experience.

Credits

Name Company Position
Rami Mallis Weber Shandwick Group Director, Corporate & Consumer Practice
Bianca Riley Weber Shandwick Account Manager
Carine Arif Weber Shandwick Senior Account Executive
Andy Curtis Weber Shandwick Head of Creative
Mark Pinga Weber Shandwick Lead Creative
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