Marketing Featured East Asia

McDonald’s, Leo Burnett Taiwan team up to breathe new life into customary receipt donation

Taipei, Taiwan – Fast food chain McDonald’s and agency Leo Burnett Taiwan have teamed up to create donation wallpapers, which promotes a refreshing method to the customary practice amongst Taiwanese, where purchasing receipts are dropped in ‘donation boxes’. These receipts then benefit charities like that of McDonald’s Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) as a major source of income. 

The campaign was launched as a digital alternative to the staple Uniform Invoice Lottery in Taiwan, which allows customers to get a ticket to enter the government’s Receipt Lottery, with prizes ranging from NT$200 to NT$10m. Said lottery uses physical receipts to enter, but with the rise of digital payments, they have all but disappeared, out of sight, and therefore out of mind.

To launch this campaign, McDonald’s and Leo Burnett Taiwan have tapped up-and-coming new media artists to create a series of downloadable wallpapers and inject an engaging twist to the routinary receipt donation. With 35 designs to choose from, every donation wallpaper includes a barcode, and when scanned at any cashier, the receipt is automatically donated to RMHC.

Donation Wallpapers can be scanned at retailers across Taiwan, making every transaction in any store an opportunity to donate to RMHC.

Jin Yang, creative partner at Leo Burnett Taiwan, said, “Gen Z can’t live without their phone, and the screen they see most of all is their mobile phone wallpaper. With this in mind, we came up with an idea that makes receipt donation impossible to ignore – every time someone wakes up their phone, it’s a reminder to do good.” 

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Calling all gamers—McDonald’s PH lets you exchange ‘food-alikes’ in video games for actual food items

Manila, Philippines – McDonald’s in the Philippines is jumping into the gaming space for its latest campaign. Called ‘Unbranded Menu’, the new campaign aims challenge gamers to hunt for McDonald’s ‘food-alikes’ across video games and then swap their inedible discoveries for actual McDonald’s items.

The campaign, made in collaboration with advertising agency Leo Burnett, began when the Philippines’ popular gaming personality Alodia Gosiengfiao found a Big Mac look-a-like inside Grand Theft Auto V and posted a screengrab of it. She then challenged her eight million followers to do the search. 

More gamers and streamers joined in and tagged their discoveries #ThisIsMcDonalds, which signalled the start of the hunt. 

Some of the Philippines’ top gamers and their fans are also already sharing pictures of unbranded and logo-free virtual food items that resemble the iconic French Fries, Big Mac, and Quarter Pounder sandwiches, amongst other McDonald’s food items. These have been found in classic video games like The Sims and Resident Evil; online multiplayer games like Fall Guys, Roblox, and PUBG; role-playing games such as Genshin Impact, Final Fantasy, The Last of Us, and Persona; and giant titles like Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Cyberpunk 207, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

Raoul Panes, chief creative officer at Publicis Groupe Philippines and Leo Burnett Manila, said that the campaign was targeted at connecting with the Philippines’ 40+ million strong gaming community.

“Then we stumbled upon an amazing discovery: so much food in the gaming multiverse looks just like McDonald’s products, despite being unbranded. Why not hack this unbranded space to build brand love for McDonald’s through the gamer behavior of screen-grabbing milestones and discoveries for posterity or bragging rights?” he added.

To fuel the hunt, McDonald’s has also been giving gaming credits, consoles, and other gaming merchandise in exchange for screengrabs of food-alikes with the #ThisIsMcDonalds tag.

“It has been fascinating to follow this virtual hunt and watch gamers exchanging virtual food clones for the real deal. Leo Burnett’s idea taps into the relationship between gamers and food, which is a big part of gaming culture, and helps us to connect with a huge gaming audience in the Philippines and beyond,” Oliver Rabatan, McDonald’s Philippines chief marketing officer, further explained.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

This McDonald’s Indonesia ad is for those who have ‘travel in their mind’

Jakarta, Indonesia – Fast food chain McDonald’s in Indonesia has released a new ad for its new burgers–but with a twist of convincing people to taste a burger from a different part of the world instead of just promoting it as is.

The ad, conceptualised by Leo Burnett Indonesia, the film features real, relatable moments in a witty and heart-warming manner, as well as dedicated to those who are left behind, stuck at work, nursing injuries or grounded by inclement weather.

The campaign is directed by Kiran Koshy of Directors Think Tank in Malaysia. 

Ravi Shanker, chief creative officer at Leo Burnett Indonesia, said, “This was the challenge posed to the team at Leo Burnett. A couple of brainstorms later, we stumbled upon an insight. Indonesians too were bitten by the travel bug. However, not everyone can travel because life in the form of financial constraints, work pressure, family commitments or climate change was getting in the way. While travelling was a possibility in the future, right now many were missing out.”

Meanwhile, Michael Hartono, director of marcomm, CBI and digital at McDonald’s Indonesia, commented, “Taste of the World’ has always been a great platform for McDonald’s and we always look for fresh, new ways to drive relevance. We are all observing how after two years, everyone really wants to experience the true flavours of the world by travelling – but for those of us stuck at home due to practical realities, we really wanted to establish that this delicious menu is available from the comfort of your homes.”

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

McDonald’s new visual campaign an ode to parent-child bonding

Manila, Philippines – Global fast-food chain McDonald’s has released a new campaign that pays tribute to the great lengths parents will do to strengthen their bond with their children.

The campaign, called ‘Happy Moments’ is conceptualised by creative agencies Leo Burnett Dubai and Leo Burnett Manila. The pictures were photographed by Ale Burset, who is based in Madrid.

Oliver Rabatan, AVP for marketing and channels lead at McDonald’s Philippines, said, “For over 40 years, McDonald’s Happy Meal has been an ally to generations of parents seeking to share happy moments with their children. As a brand, celebrating our role as the home of happy family moments is a theme we keep returning to. Our latest instalment pays special tribute to devoted dads in the lead up to Father’s Day.”

Meanwhile, Raoul Panes, chief creative officer at Leo Burnett Manila, commented, “Thanks to our Power of One model, this has been an amazing collaboration across borders. With Ale’s candid, unpolished treatment, we have created a campaign that feels uniquely understated for this market. Together with McDonald’s Philippines, we look forward to celebrating life’s moments of happiness for many years to come.”

Lastly, Kalpesh Patankar, chief creative officer at Leo Burnett Dubai, added, “There often lies something extraordinary in the most simple, everyday moments. We wanted to capture the charming joyfulness of life’s most cherished moments by simply showing a parent and child on their way back home from McDonald’s. Real streets and authentic photography become the backdrop for truly happy moments captured in the most understated way, as though through the lens of a passer-by.”

The campaign is now running in print and point-of-sale during the lead-up to Father’s Day on 19 June. 

Marketing Featured Global

McDonald’s officially exits Russia after 30 years

Chicago, USA – Global fast food chain McDonald’s has officially announced that they are now exiting Russia, 30 years since they first opened their Russian branch in 1990. As part of that exit, McDonald’s is selling its Russian business.

The fast food chain had previously announced its suspension of operations in Russia on 8 March, as well as an open letter posted by their CEO Chris Kempczinski on the same day regarding the suspension.

Speaking on the formal exit of the company, Kempczinski said, “We have a long history of establishing deep, local roots wherever the Arches shine. We’re exceptionally proud of the 62,000 employees who work in our restaurants, along with the hundreds of Russian suppliers who support our business, and our local franchisees. Their dedication and loyalty to McDonald’s make today’s announcement extremely difficult.”

He added, “However, we have a commitment to our global community and must remain steadfast in our values. And our commitment to our values means that we can no longer keep the Arches shining there.”

According to the company, the ongoing humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, and the precipitating unpredictable operating environment, have led McDonald’s to conclude that continued ownership of the business in Russia is no longer tenable, nor is it consistent with McDonald’s values.

It is also expecting that the company will lose around US$1.2b to US$1.4b to write off its net investment in the market.

McDonald’s is one of the hundreds of companies that have exited Russia amidst the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine; which includes advertising and marketing companies such as Publicis Groupe and IPG.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

McDonald’s MY lightens up Bukit Bintang crosswalk, one fry at a time

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Fast food chain McDonald’s in Malaysia has launched a new campaign at the shopping and entertainment district of Kuala Lumpur, Bukit Bintang. In it, the fast food chain unveiled its first ever iconic McDonald’s Fries crosswalk, as it leads visitors straight into Malaysia’s first McDonald’s restaurant.

Conceptualised alongside creative agency Leo Burnett, the official approval and rollout of the ‘fries’ crosswalk took seven months to complete and also coincides with McDonald’s Malaysia’s 40th anniversary which aims to reinvigorate Bukit Bintang’s intersection and spark feel-good moments to all pedestrians. 

In addition, this iconic crosswalk is the start of a larger campaign with consumer activations to help further generate buzz and encourage social fan truths.

Melati Abdul Hai, vice president and chief marketing officer at McDonald’s Malaysia, said, “At McDonalds, we are always looking for creative ways to create feel-good moments for Malaysians. So, when our partner creative agency, Leo Burnett, shared the idea to marry the iconic Bukit Bintang crossing with our global McDonald visual icon, our French Fries, we were excited to bring it to life. Our hope is that this Fries Crosswalk will add to the beauty of Kuala Lumpur and put smiles on pedestrians’ faces by making simple routines such as crossing the road a ‘feel-good’ moment.”

Meanwhile, Neil Hudspeth, CEO of Publicis Groupe Malaysia and McDonald’s global client lead for Asia-Pacific, commented, “I love the idea. It’s simple, powerful, disruptive and iconic. There are very few brands in the world today that have this heady combination of creative authority and customer love, and the crosswalk is a powerful example of the love Malaysians have for McDonald’s, as well as a genuine reflection of how well embedded the brand is into our culture. Bringing back fun to Bukit Bintang, one fry at a time is just incredible. We talk about little moments of love made easy for everyone, and what better way to bring this to life.”

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Search results for a brand can jump to 50% when tapping BTS as brand ambassadors

Singapore – With the sudden rise of K-pop groups such as BTS being tapped by global brands as their respective brand ambassadors, the trend has been evident among these brands to be more recognized by the general populace. The K-pop effect on the consumer is proven further with the latest findings from shopping aggregator iPrice showing that search results for brands can jump up to 50% after signing in BTS as their brand ambassador.

According to the insights, these sudden spikes in brand popularity have been long evident across brands three years ago when the prominence of K-pop brand ambassadors started to materialize. For instance, luxury brand Louis Vuitton and soft drink brand Coca-Cola gained 46% and 14% search boost respectively in the global market when they signed BTS as their brand ambassador. Meanwhile, sportswear brand Fila gained a 16% spike in brand interest in 2019 globally for the same reason as well.

Another successful brand interest was manifested last year when South Korean multinational electronics company, Samsung, released a BTS edition of Galaxy S20+. The result revealed a 53% increase in brand searches compared to the same period in 2019. 

And more recently, the recent collaboration of BTS and fast-food chain McDonald’s has earned the brand an 8% increase in search interest globally compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile, among Singapore consumers, the said collaboration recorded a whopping 81% increase in Google search volume, signifying the massive effect it had on the growth of McDonald’s brand awareness in the country. 

The insights also note in McDonald’s case in Singapore that due to the insane demand for McDonald’s paper bags adorned with the BTS logo, people ended up reselling the packaging along with unopened sauces on an e-commerce platform within 24 hours of its launch.

Part of the reason these brands have gained so much success from their collaborations is that aside from the love towards BTS as a whole, each of the Korean boy band’s members boasts a fan base of their own. K-pop fans have come up with a term called ‘bias’, which essentially means a favorite member.

In terms of biases within the Singapore consumer base, findings show that Jungkook tops the list, accounting for over 26% of the country’s searches. He is followed by V (25%), Jimin (20%), Jin (10%), Suga (8%), RM (7%), and J-hope (3%).

In Southeast Asia, people seem to be Googling V the most, averaging 29% of the search volume, followed by Jungkook at 26%, and Jimin at 18%. 

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

PH-centric report unwraps the wide impact of BTS x McDo collab

Manila, Philippines – Following the global rollout of the much-awaited fast-food collaboration of McDonald’s and K-pop group BTS for their limited-time meal combo, the PH social media saw a trend surgeon the collab, with a mix of both the positive and the negative side of trends, new insights from media intelligence and insights business Isentia shows.

Trend-wise, the social buzz on the collaboration, or the number of times a particular term is used online, totaled 33,330 from 11 June to 25 June where 32% of those buzz words, approximately 10,563, were seen during the launch day.

“BTS’s influence and popularity is undeniable. They have cultivated more than a loyal fanbase – they have created advocates who are more than willing to defend them and all-out express their admiration and support for them. For companies and brands, it is important to understand at what level your customers are,” said Victoria Lazo, insights manager at Isentia Philippines.

Part of the popularity of the ‘BTS x McDo’ meal collaboration can be attributed to the creative upcycle featuring the BTS x McDo meal coming from ‘ARMYs’ or BTS fans online. For instance, many fans are collecting the meal combo’s packaging and are posting it online, while some get creative and repurpose them such as tumbler wrapping or a bag.

One social media buzz that also contributed to the hype was a fan tweet that showed the Iloilo Business Park lighting up in violet colors, the attributed color of BTS, in celebration of the much-awaited McDonald’s meal collaboration.

There is no shortage as well of creative ‘spin-offs’ from the online community regarding custom meal collaborations, featuring artists such as Taylor Swift, Sarah Geronimo, and Regine Velasquez.

Lastly, stories of inspiration from the community also further augmented the hype, as for the instance of one foodpanda driver in the country, who expressed gratitude on social media because of the constant influx of BTS x McDo meal delivery orders. In response, ARMYs raised in total PHP45,230 to donate to the said delivery rider, thanking him for his hard work.

“Over the years, brands have taken advantage of the positive impact of celebrity endorsements on consumers’ purchase behavior. Tapping prominent personalities, as well as social media influencers, has been a staple marketing strategy used by companies to create waves to promote brand awareness, shape perception, or push for brand loyalty,” said Kate Dudang, insights manager at Isentia Philippines.

Despite the positive outlook of said campaign, there has been a relative fall-out within the local sphere, including customers who purposely crumpled the packaging of the meal and posted it on social media.

Infamously, the term ‘biot’, or the Cebuano term for gay, was used by a lot of ‘haters’ and ‘trolls’ in a negative way to equate them with BTS. Caught within the issue as well are several Grab delivery riders, who posted on social media the homophobic remarks.

It should be recalled that Grab Philippines recently published a statement, stating that they have suspended the drivers in question and are working towards enforcing their culture of inclusivity within the company.

Despite these fall-offs, the campaign still went on actively, with McDonald’s Philippines offering customers exclusive BTS content on their own app, as well as free drink upgrades to those who ordered the BTS meal via Ride-Thru. The fast-food chain in the country also convinced fans to eat the BTS meal with fellow fans by only charging 7 PHP per address to those who order for others. 

“What BTS did with the BTS meal is beyond product interaction, we analysts saw an amazing display of dedication from the ARMY. This display of brand dedication opens up many avenues for other brands to capitalize on certain trends and personas. From preserving the packaging and turning it into different BTS-themed items to outright uninstalling delivery courier services apps for calling BTS slurs. But with all that said, calling the ARMY ‘just a fandom will forever be an understatement,” said Francis Calucin, insights analyst at Isentia Philippines.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

McDonald’s Singapore unveils new activation that reunites families this Ramadan

Singapore – To celebrate the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, McDonald’s Singapore has launched ‘My Happy Table’, a physical activation that uses technology and a camera set-up to help Singapore-based individuals ‘reunite’ with their families in Malaysia.

‘My Happy Table’ aims to help bridge the distance felt by Singaporean and Malaysian families due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this experience, family members will once again be able to eat breakfast together as though they are seated at the same table.

The setup will be done within party rooms at the McDonald’s Canberra Plaza in Singapore and McDonald’s Taman Desa Tebrau in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. ‘My Happy Table’ will open for public usage starting from 23 April to 28 April, with the call for entry on 19 April. 

Furthermore, McDonald’s Singapore has also released a video to mark the launch of ‘My Happy Table’, showcasing its employees in Singapore who are originally from Malaysia, and highlighting the difficult decisions the employees have had to take to support their families. The video underscores their longing for their family, especially during Ramadan.

The activation and the filming of the launch video were done in partnership with Publicis Communications’ global advertising company Leo Burnett Singapore.

“‘My Happy Table’ at McDonald’s is our way of helping to narrow that distance by facilitating mini-reunions for Muslim families during this Ramadan. As a brand that celebrates family togetherness, we’re heartened to see our employees and customers reunite ‘virtually’ with their families and create happy memories during these trying times,” said Drina Chee, the senior director of marketing and digital customer experience at McDonald’s Singapore.

Meanwhile, Jennie Morris, the chief creative officer of Publicis Communications, commented, “McDonald’s is one of the few brands that can authentically participate in culture. ‘My Happy Table’ is a wonderful example of meaningful creativity, where even just for a few hours, McDonald’s could recreate the magic of sharing a meal together – showing that our Spirit of Ramadan is definitely stronger than the border that divides us.”

Marketing Featured Global

You can now dine with BTS ‘in spirit’ as McDonald’s launch group’s go-to meal

Singapore – McDonald’s latest menu launch is a big nod to the passion of the BTS army, as it partners with the popular Korean pop icons for the ‘BTS Meal’. The launch is a global rollout in nearly 50 countries.

The meal includes 10-piece chicken McNuggets, medium fries, and Coke, as well as McDonald’s South Korea’s two popular dipping sauces – sweet chili and cajun.

The availability of the meal will be subsequent in the covered markets. Starting May, the ‘BTS Meal’ will be gracing the fast food’s menu in Malaysia, Australia, and Singapore, as well as South Korea, and Vietnam. Meanwhile, in countries India, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, as well as Indonesia, the rollout will be in June. 

The announcement of the BTS meal follows the successful launch of McDonald’s celebrity signature orders program in 2020. BTS is the latest icon to have their signature menu items featured and will be the first celebrities to share their order with customers worldwide. 

Morgan Flatley, the chief marketing officer of McDonald’s USA, said, “BTS truly lights up the world stage, uniting people across the globe through their music. We’re excited to bring customers even closer to their beloved band in a way only McDonald’s can – through our delicious food – when we introduce the BTS signature order on our menu next month.”

Meanwhile, BIGHIT MUSIC, the label of BTS, commented, “The band has great memories with McDonald’s. We’re excited about this collaboration and can’t wait to share the BTS Meal with the world.”