Cannes Lions

The Travis Scott Meal

WIEDEN+KENNEDY NEW YORK, New York / MCDONALD'S / 2021

Awards:

2 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
Case Film
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Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

This is the story of how an aging brand found lightning in a bottle when the world was at a standstill and this generation’s youth were yearning to experience something, anything.

McDonald’s needed a cultural reappraisal – the growth in the QSR (Quick Service Restaurants) category had come from young multicultural audiences, but McDonald’s kept losing share with this audience. The future, but also the present, of the brand was at stake.

The client brief was: “build the brand and drive traffic with multicultural youth”.

Commercial Objective:

Reverse sales decline and see share growth in a short period of time.

Marketing Objective:

Drive penetration by bringing younger, multicultural, customers to the brand.

Communication Objective:

We needed to drive relevance among this audience crucial to the future health of the brand.

But brand relevance and changing attitudes wouldn’t be enough, we had to find a way to drive immediate behavior too.

Idea

It all started with our “Famous Orders” Super Bowl spot and a simple insight: "No matter how big or famous you are, everyone has a McDonald's order."

It’s the kind of insight that can help a category leader set themselves apart from everyone else. Because everyone really does have a McDonald’s order.

From there, it’s not a huge leap to go from celebrity orders in a commercial to our breakthrough idea:

Release a celebrity’s order as a meal, and turn going to McDonald’s into a cultural event

But it was transformational for the brand, turning going to any of 14,000 McDonald’s into a cultural event.

The power of this idea was felt throughout our industry and beyond. Business of Fashion chronicled the collaboration with: “What Fashion Can Learn From The Wild Success of McDonald’s Travis Scott Collab.” Fashion learning from fast food is not an everyday occurrence.

Strategy

Multicultural youth hate ads. And while they live online, they don’t think in terms of “platforms.” To shock reappraisal in an audience that had discarded Mcdonald’s, we needed to prioritize people over platforms and show up in a way that was inherently social.

We set down criteria for this first “Famous Order”:

A legit fan of McDonald’s - a real passion for the brand was crucial. Our audience can easily suss out inauthenticity.

Big name to create cultural gravity

Relevant to our audience

And some ingredients for the program itself:

Signature meal announced in a PR-worthy way.

Shared equity > borrowed equity

Create content to fuel the star’s fanbase and drive participation.

A 2019 photo of Travis Scott eating McDonald’s on the wing of his Bugatti told us he was the right pick. He met the criteria we had set and had the creative ingredients to light a cultural fire.

Execution

“The Travis Scott Meal” was born.

The order, “the same since back in Houston”, required no new ingredients – a Quarter Pounder with cheese, bacon and lettuce, fries, BBQ sauce, and Sprite.

The creative executions represented the intersection of these iconic brands. We’d leverage his distinct sound, iconography, action figure, and create keepsakes as totems of the partnership. Details his fans would go crazy about, and wider culture carried along with them.

The partnership was teased on both McDonald’s and Travis Scott’s social channels igniting a cultural fire.

On launch day, Travis himself showed up at his local McDonald’s, even working the drive-thru to much fanfare.

Fans came through in droves, every day, for 4 weeks, playing Sicko Mode in the drive-thru and announcing that “Cactus Jack sent me” (from our TVC).

Momentum was sustained with 4 merch drops, each designed by Travis himself, that sold out the same day.

Outcome

It’s tough for a brand to create mass participation at scale, but we succeeded. Lots of brands talk about ‘breaking the Internet’ (which we did) and ‘creating culture’ – but we drove more than 2000 media placements, 190 Million Earned Reach and 97% favorable tone…Even our POS posters were stolen and resold on sites like eBay. And very few brands can say they broke their own supply chain. Wall St analysts immediately recognized the power of the partnership and upgraded stock price estimates.

We exceeded all our objectives. Customers were overwhelmingly young and multicultural. We drove penetration with all 3 multicultural segments and grew 18-24 segment by 3.5%. Sales grew by 10%. That’s 12 million incremental orders and $50 million in incremental revenue. We even increased market share at lunch by 1.3%. And did it profitably: for every $1 spent on marketing, ROMI was $3.22.

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