Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?
This campaign shows how the McDonald’s brand was able to create a whole brand experience without being disrespectful of the religious experience it was celebrating.
Ramadan is the month where Muslims fast. From sunrise to sunset, one does not eat or drink. And so, in Muslim countries, it is not culturally appropriate to show food images in ads during the day. And this is especially true in Saudi Arabia, the heartland of Islam. Despite that, many restaurants in the Kingdom still advertise during the day. They do it in the hopes of getting people to choose their products for Iftar - the breaking of fast at sunset. McDonald’s Saudi Arabia also wanted to advertise its Iftar specials. But McDonald’s also wanted to remain culturally sensitive and respectful. Our challenge was to achieve both.
Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)
Introducing, the first ever campaign that follows the cycle of Ramadan to the minute.
The McDonald’s Iftar Sand Clock.
We transformed people’s beloved McDonald’s menu items such as the Fries, the Big Mac and the Sundae, into sand clocks. At every sunrise they would be empty and as the day goes by, they would fill up. Taking a whole 12 hours to do so. Just in time for sunset, they would reveal themselves fully.
Describe the strategy (20% of vote)
We wanted to target all of the Kingdom, while staying culturally sensitive, so we made sure everyone saw our sand clocks without seeing the actual food item. Unless it was after iftar. In this way, McDonald’s came across as an international chain that had cultural insight and respect, integrating it even more within the Saudi culture. We gained traction over local brands and we gained affinity from our local customers.
Describe the execution (30% of vote)
The sand clocks were primarily made visible to everyone on print and outdoor.
The sand clocks were turned into multiple integrated touchpoints covering the whole of the Kingdom: interactive outdoors, installations, drive through mupis, indoor interactive screens and digital interactive banners and ads. What’s more, everyday, the timing of sunrise and sunset changes by a minute or two. Our sand clocks were up to date every day, and they worked perfectly on the timing of the day.
We even booked over and hijacked our competitor’s ads to stop them from showing food and to show our sand clocks instead.
List the results (30% of vote)
147% increase in positive mentions on social media
More than 2.4 million media impressions
34.8% increase in drive-thru sales during Ramadan
Voted top 5 integrated campaigns of the MENA in Campaign ME