Bye, bye balloons. Long live balloons!

NORD DDB, Stockholm / MCDONALD'S / 2021

Case Film
Case Film






In 2018, McDonald's Sweden launched the concept Big enough to make a difference. It's a platform that highlights McDonald's initiatives, big and small, to get Swedes to re-evaluate what McDonald's uses its size for, to give more people a better aftertaste of the brand.

To further showcase their positive role in society in 2020, McDonald's started phasing out disposable plastic in their restaurants. So, to start communicating about this rather big shift, McDonald's wanted to start with something seemingly small: removing the iconic balloons in their restaurants.

While reducing plastics is something we thought Swedes would approve of, other things - like fun, colorful balloons for the kids - are something that the guests expect and that the kids love. So, the creative challenge we needed to crack was to make a good move for the environment while replacing the balloons with something that the kids thought was at least as fun.

So, we replaced the balloons with even more balloons by creating an AR experience where kids in the restaurants could play via their mobile or tablet and compete to see who sticks the most balloons. With the AR-game as the focal point, we created an integrated campaign in channels such as TV, Online Video, Outdoor, Social, Print, instore, website and app.

The results were not long in coming. Hundreds of articles across the globe mentioned the campaign, resulting in more than 200 000 000 in earned media reach.

In just 3 weeks, more than 157,000 people had played - which is as many as 25% of all children in the HappyMeal age 5-9 years. The number of games played in the same period is over 500,000 with an average play time of 3 minutes. Littering balloons? 0%.

We increased awareness that McDonald's are phasing out disposable plastic in their restaurants to 56%, 16 percentage points above target (40%) and an increase of +86% (from 30% to 56%).

After the campaign, 57% said McDonald's is a company that makes a positive contribution to Swedish society, 9 percentage points above target (48%) and an increase of +39% (from 41% to 57%).

We’ve also managed to increase the perception of McDonald's as a company that takes responsibility for the environment, from 32% to 50%, 10 percentage points above target and equivalent to an increase of +56%.

70% of all Swedes thought it was a good thing to remove the balloons (20 percentage points above objective) and the positive impression of the brand rose to 50%, 5 percentage points above target and an increase of +21% (from 41% to 50%).

Last but not least, McDonald’s saw their visits increase by 2,9% while sales increased by a stunning 6,4% vs competition, beating the objective in September by 0,9% and 4,4%.

Showcasing their role as Big enough to make a difference and replacing the balloons with digital balloons was also a good deal for the environment as McDonald’s reduced their use of plastics by 9 tonnes vs last year.

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