McDonald’s Super Bowl strategy: ‘Pay With Lovin’ and Twitter ad break giveaways

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At this year’s Super Bowl, McDonalds certainly took the prize for most innovative digital aspect of a campaign, with a two-pronged social media strategy to get people engaging with the brand while watching the game. The fast food chain used its 2015 ad to announce that it will let random customer pay with funny and heart-warming gestures rather than cash. This was followed up with tweets that pledged to giveaway all other products advertised during each ad break- from Toyota cars to superglue.

Case study summary

• Fast food giant looks to turn around falling market share with social media focussed Super Bowl ad

• Pay With Lovin campaign results in high number of follow up videos posted to YouTube and other social channels to amplify message

• Innovative ad break product giveaway on Twitter keeps second screeners talking while watching the game

The challenge

McDonald’s saw 21% drop in fourth-quarter earnings for 2014, as millennials head over to “fast-casual” restaurants like Chipotle Mexican Grill and the boutique burger joint Shake Shack. The share of monthly McDonald’s visitors ages 19 to 21 has dropped by 12.9 percentage points since 2011, while the percentage for 22-to-37-year-olds hasn’t budged.

Faced with this challenge, the fast food chain is looking to boost its image on social media with innovative and interactive campaigns that put their real customers in the spotlight.

The solution

Starting February 2nd, the chain let random customers pay for their food with different forms of what McDonald' s calls "lovin'," which could include selfies and hugs. " Customers who order items during preselected times will get to participate in the deal. McDonald's employees will let customers know if they get to "Pay with Lovin'." The Super Bowl ad showcased how the scheme will work in restaurants.

Twitter ad break giveaway

In a further gesture of goodwill, McDonalds then pledged to giveway all other products advertised in the superbowl to lucky contest winners. From Toyota Cars to Locktite superglue (we presume).

McDonald’s advised Twitter users to follow the chain during each commercial break. During the first break, spots for TurboTax and Toyota aired.

McDonald's then tweeted:

The chain posted tweets about each ad, complimenting the marketer, the ad or its products in some way. McDonald's then be monitored who retweets each tweet, and gave away every product advertised during the Super Bowl, including the big-ticket items like cars. The idea was created by Omnicom's DDBChicago, with the Marketing Store, a longtime McDonald's agency that handles its contests.

The results

The YouTube version of the Super Bowl ad got 8 million views within 4 days of going live.

A day on from the launch of the ‘Pay with Lovin’ campaign, customers and store employees started posting videos on YouTube of people taking part in these unusual transactions. There were many funny videos and some rather cringe-worthy moments too:

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