Cannes Lions

Don’t Get McShammed

SMALL GIRLS PR, New York / JACK IN THE BOX / 2023

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

When it comes to St. Patrick’s Day milkshakes, one quick-service-restaurant gets all the McLovin’. Underdog Jack in the Box deserved to get attention for their superior-tasting Oreo Cookie Mint Shake during the St. Patrick’s Day season, so we tapped into a cultural conversation in a way that was uniquely Jack.

There is nothing more disappointing than going for an ice cream run, pulling up to the drive thru full of hope and then hearing the saddest seven words to ever exist: “Sorry, our ice cream machine is broken.” This is typical at McDonald’s - for example, in San Diego, California, 25% of machines are broken and in Seattle, Washington, nearly 20%. Through social listening, we heard people’s frustrations…loud and clear.

Idea

McDonald’s broken ice cream machines are so prevalent, someone built an entire website around it in 2020: www.McBroken.com. This website helps ice cream lovers find out whether their local McDonald’s has a working ice cream machine before they make the trip. At the start of 2022’s launch of the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake, more than 10% of their ice cream machines were broken on average nationally. In Jack’s eyes, even 1% is too much.

Leveraging McBroken.com data and social conversations around McDonald’s ice cream machines being notoriously broken, the “Don’t Get McShammed” campaign was born.

Strategy

Timed with the launch of McDonald’s Shamrock Shake, we drew attention to Jack in the Box’s (working) ice cream machines. We called out McDonald’s broken machines and pointed shake-starved citizens to their closest Jack in the Box. Despite being a West Coast fast-food chain, we pitched the story to national outlets as it’s a story everyone can relate to.

While we launched our campaign, the Federal Trade Commission was simultaneously investigating McDonald's faulty machines. We took this opportunity to pitch to trade media, using the investigation to further promote Jack in the Box's Oreo Cookie Mint Shake. By highlighting our reliable ice cream machines and delicious offerings, we further cemented Jack in the Box's reputation as a dependable fast-food chain.

Execution

Through a creative takeover and fully branded experience of McBroken.com, we redirected people to nearby Jack in Box locations as an alternative to try the superior Oreo Cookie Mint Shake instead. Fans were also prompted to download the Jack app and get a $2 shake using the code McShammed.

The campaign was amplified as Jack in the Box took over the largest digital billboard in the world - right across the street from one of McDonald’s most notorious ice cream machine offenders in Los Angeles.

Outcome

The “Don’t Get McShammed” campaign caught the attention of the media, Jack in the Box fans, and those looking for a delicious shake.

We earned 1.4 billion media impressions with coverage in USA Today, Thrillist, Entrepreneur, Food & Wine, Yahoo!, Mashed and more.

The average daily website traffic to McBroken.com nearly tripled during the month of March with 40,000 click-throughs to Jack in the Box locations.

And the sweetest part - Jack in the Box received a 48% overall increase in mobile shake sales.

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