Road To McDrive

OMD GERMANY, Dusseldorf / MCDONALDS / 2021

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Case Film
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November 2020. The country is heavily affected by the corona pandemic. Public life is shut down again: stores, leisure and cultural facilities have to close shop. Gastronomy (and therefore McDonald’s) faces the same fate: buying food or even eating inside the restaurant is not possible anymore.

Like during the first lockdown in spring, take-away is the only remaining possibility to serve customers. Thanks to our awareness measures during the spring lockdown most of our customers knew that our drive-thru option, the McDrives, were still open.

But with the second lockdown, confusion sets in once more, leading to less visitors at the drive-thru. Therefore, it’s our most important task to remind our customers, that our McDrive is still open and inspire them for a visit.


Simply using a huge number of billboards on high frequency streets to highlight the benefits of McDrive (contact-less take-away), enhanced with pictograms or acronyms of hygiene standards is the wrong approach. We have to make McDrive perceptible, the message needs to be clear after just one contact: eye catching, bold and simple.

Most Germans know how the typical McDrive order window looks like and vividly remembers how a visit feels: From ordering, via paying, up to the moment when the McDonald’s employee is offering the order from the window. How the scent spreads within the car, how ones mouth waters, how the food is enjoyed.

It is exactly this association we need to evoke: as if you are steering your car into McDrive. To convey this, we needed to bring together creative, medium and moment and orchestrate them in just the right way. The medium needed to become the message.


Doesn’t the format of a certain German roadside poster (“city light poster”, short: CLP) match the McDrive window exactly? It does!

And if you stop with your car next to a CLP, isn’t the advertising space at the same height as the McDrive window? Yes, sir!

And given the correct design, could the ad create the illusion of stopping your car at the McDrive window? That’s it!

We turned CLPs into exact images of McDrive windows, with McDonald’s employees offering McDonald’s bags, wearing masks to demonstrate a Corona-safe experience.

To stage the creation as realistically as possible, we selected only the outdoor poster sites that ticked the boxes of a simple checklist: facing car drivers, right hight and angle, situated where cars usually come to a stop – turning 4100 poster CLPs into McDrive illusions, making the medium the message. Only deliverable through outdoor, perfectly fitting our insight and message.


Our approach of hand-picked and individually negotiated outdoor poster sites, combined with a creation that let the medium turn into the message increased McDrive traffic as well as trust in McDonald’s.

More customers, higher sales: The campaign led to a significant rise in customer frequency of McDrive during campaign period in lockdown. We were able to welcome +20% customers at McDrive during campaign period end of November / beginning of December, compared to end of October before the start of autumn lockdown and compared to non-campaign cities.

Top marks for the feeling of safety at McDonald’s: Trust in safety at McDonald’s was increased compared to the pre-lockdown-phase in October: +6% trust in safety of food and provider and +8% trust in implementation of hygiene regulations.

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