Spikes Asia

McDonald's Yes Kids Zone



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In South Korea, which has the world's lowest birth rate, interactions with children have decreased, contributing to the perception of children as nuisances. This has led to a nationwide phenomenon of “No Kids Zones,” with many restaurants and cafes banning children’s entry. As of 2021, more than 400 restaurants in Korea had voluntarily designated themselves as No Kids Zones, and an escalating number of online reviews expressed support for such child-free environments. Surveys revealed that over 71% of Korean adults either support or agree with the No Kids Zone policy. This trend has resulted in a decrease in family-friendly dining options, posing a growing challenge for families with children who wish to dine out. McDonald’s has always been an inclusive brand that cares about families and kids. So, McDonald’s aimed to launch a campaign to lead a broader societal transformation in the perception of children.


According to the user-created No Kids Zone map on Google, there were over 400 No Kids Zones in South Korea as of 2021. To counter the rise of 400+ No Kids Zones, we explicitly designated all 427 McDonald's restaurants nationwide as "Yes Kids Zones," where kids are always welcomed. By stating that every McDonald’s is a Yes Kids Zone and attaching symbolic Yes Kids Zone signage at the forefront of the stores, we officially declared McDonald’s as a Yes Kids Zone.


We wanted to say McDonald’s is a place for everyone, including families and kids to have “feel-good moments”. McDonald’s set out to target the entire nation, emphasizing itself as a place where kids can be as they were. To launch the campaign, we created a TV film to the importance and beauty of moments with kids. Our message was spread online through YouTube and Instagram content, and reinforced through articles. In-store, we provided Yes Kids Zone sign stickers to consumers, which served as a widespread PR medium in themself. The strategic idea behind McDonald's Yes Kids Zone campaign was not only to establish designated family-friendly areas within their restaurants, but also to catalyze broader societal transformation in the perception of children. By actively embracing the concept of 'Yes Kids Zones,' McDonald's positioned itself as a leading advocate for the well-being and inclusivity of children.


We kicked off the campaign by launching an anthemic film to proudly say “yes” to kids and ignite the Yes Kids Zone movement. The film depicted various moments of children being welcomed in McDonald’s restaurants with the message “McDonald’s is a Yes Kids Zone, where all kids are always welcome.” Articles followed, stating that McDonald’s had declared itself a Yes Kids Zone to welcome every child amid the No Kids Zone trend. To support and welcome children, we prominently displayed Yes Kids Zone signs at every entrance of McDonald's stores nationwide and ensured their visibility on NAVER maps, Korea’s largest search engine, also making it easier for parents to locate family-friendly places online and offline. To extend the influence of the initiative beyond McDonald's, we provided special Yes Kids Zone meals with symbolic signs to celebrate the importance of children both inside and outside of the store.


Through the campaign, McDonald's has achieved the highest perception rating in the past 6 years as an enjoyable place for families and kids, reaching 56.5%. We have observed significant Brand Index points increase in the "Kids' Favorite Place" category since May 2021. Additionally, there has been a 5 Brand Index point increase in the perception that McDonald's is a socially responsible company, also reaching the highest in the past 6 years. With over 298 million people reached, the Yes Kids Zone sparked a positive debate online, generating increased positive social buzz (+69%) for the movement of Yes Kids Zone in a month. Over 50 media outlets have reported positive feedback about the Yes Kids Zone initiative.

Months after the launch of Yes Kids Zone, the Seoul city introduced the “Seoul Kids Okay Zone” project, which aligned with the message of McDonald's Yes Kids Zones. The project certifies over 350 locations in Seoul as kid-friendly, with plans to expand to over 1,000 locations by 2024. Hundreds of restaurants nationwide have joined McDonald's in creating kid-friendly environments, resulting in thousands of Yes Kids Zone-like places across the country. In September 2023, the first bill to ban No Kids Zones nationwide was introduced in the National Assembly.

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