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Deals Stuck in Time

NORD DDB, Stockholm / MCDONALD'S / 2023

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Overview

Background

McDonald's has always done their best to keep prices low. So, when they raise their prices, you know inflationary pressure is high, which was what happened at the end of 2022. But Deals Stuck in Time gave people a way to escape inflation – when they wanted McDonald's.

As the cost of food increased, there was a noticeable increase in nostalgia for McDonald's previous prices, this was particularly evident in their own social media channels. Luckily, there's a place where McDonald's good old deals are immortalized - Google Street View.

To understand their customers McDonald's needs to get more users to their app. Giving them insight into customer purchase behavior and spending habits to enhance customer loyalty. So, the main objective was to increase app downloads by 20,000. Main target group was people aged 18-30. Secondary target group: Everyone interested in great deals.

Idea

We used Google’s time travel feature on their mobile app to allow consumers to travel back to pre-inflation times and get better deals.

We digitally reused all of McDonald's old billboard ads that we could find in Street View, and advertised our campaign on the exact same billboards, enabling people to use the deals again. By scanning the QR code on the campaign’s outdoor ads, you were sent to that same one but in Street View - where the old deal still exists. A campaign that turn yesterday's offers into today's best deals.

Strategy

In order to reach McDonald's younger target group, who juggle their lives between the digital world in their phones and the real world, we took an approach where the two worlds not only meet - but complement each other in a significant way.

Deals Stuck in Time combines traditional outdoor advertising with today's technology, to create a digital and immersive experience for customers hungry for a good deal. The idea was also launched at a time when mainstream popular culture is characterized by different types of multiverses, where mainstream entertainment play with the idea of moving in time and space. An example is Marvel Cinematic Universe. The entire campaign is a nod to that trend, both to the expression and the idea itself.

Because of our digital approach to traditional outdoor ads, we made it easier to achieve our campaign goals – getting more people to download the McDonald's app.

Execution

When we realized that a large part of McDonald's tactical outdoor campaigns from the past 14 years were captured in Google Street View, we found a way to reactivate all these offers digitally. We located old deals that have been capture by Google over the years, bought the same exact billboards and turned them into time portals to the old deals in Google Street View.

By scanning a QR code on the outdoor ad, google maps popped up and you saw the old deal through Street View – at the very same location. This weblink then functioned as a voucher code on our campaign site, leading you directly to the McDonald’s app where you could claim the deal.

With just a few taps on your phone, anyone interacting with the billboards could score a Cheeseburger at 2009 prices or grab an old-school Big Mac deal from 2012, and so on.

Outcome

Deals Stuck in Time is an example of how a campaign, with the right use of a digital activation, can engage people to the point where they claim over 32.000, sometimes 14-year-old, deals.

We had over 840,000 participants on our campaign website, www.dealsstuckintime.se, and the campaign generated over 23,000 new app downloads. And during the campaign McDonald's active app users, those who actively use the app at least once a week, also increased by a whopping +25%.

The campaign itself sparked a lot of interest and generated over 13 million impressions. We think our digital approach to traditional outdoor ads played a big role in that, since it enabled people to claim McDonald's old prices in a new way, and in a time when great deals were most needed.

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