Title: Unbranded Menu
Media: Social, Digital
Date Of Campaign: 26 November 2022
Background: The relationship between food and gamers has been around long before the gaming industry boom.For a brand as universal as McDonald’s, choosing to engage with the gaming audience wasn’t a limiting strategy, rather one that presented infinite opportunities. Much like McDonald’s, fans of gaming span all ages, genders and backgrounds - such a large and diverse audience who invest a lot of time, money and some may say, feelings, in their game/s of choice (and the content ecosystem surrounding these games). The intent to tap this goldmine of an audience (43.3M in the Philippines) was the easy part. The challenge was in actually tapping a group notorious for rejecting marketers . We needed to unlock a new way-in for McDonald’s to engage with gamers, and in so doing, boost brand engagement and brand mentions.
Idea: Food shows up in almost every game in almost countless ways. And any gamer will agree : food in video games, despite being unbranded, look just like McDonald’s. Why try and integrate McDonald’s into one game, when McDonald’s food has been in who knew how many games all along- hiding in plain sight?To stake our claim on all gaming food, McDonald’s introduced A GAME WITHIN ANY EXISTING GAME. Doubling down on the screengrabbing behavior of gamers, we collaborated with the country’s top gaming influencers and invited them to search across games, screengrab McDonald’s food-alikes, and tag their finds #ThisisMcDonalds. Before long, top gamers and their legions of hungry fans were sharing screengrabs of virtual food that – despite being logo-free – bear an uncanny resemblance to the iconic McDonald’s classics. McDonald’s kept close watch, engaging with bespoke responses in real time. Gamers received coupons equivalent to their screengrub so they could have food delivered IRL for free.
Results: Other brands made gains with this audience by selecting one huge gaming title and investing (big) in an immersive experience. Not only did McDonald’s NOT need to pay to play, but we didn’t need to limit ourselves to just one game.With Unbranded Menu, McDonald’s asserted its iconicity and ubiquity and encouraged gamers to think of McDonald’s first, every time they see a fast food item inside ANY video game.While other brands negotiated with one publisher at a time, this epic cross-gaming hunt has thus far surfaced McDonald’s grub in over 350 different gaming titles. Food-alikes have been found everywhere from classic video games (The Sims, Resident Evil) to multiplayer games (Fall Guys, Roblox), role-playing games (Final Fantasy, The Last of Us) and multi-billion-dollar titles (Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto). McDonald’s not only reached 27 million gaming fans at $0 sponsorship cost, but this virtual hunt also delivered tasty results for the brand.· 108% increase in brand mentions · 140% increase in brand engagement · 35% increase in McDelivery sales (thanks to hungry gamers ordering on top of their coupons, and showing off on their feed, triggering even more cravings, and orders!)