WE ARE UNLIMITED, Chicago / undefined / 2017

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Using data and social listening, we discovered that there was a much more interesting conversation around our fast food chain’s Coke. In fact, if you Google “that place where Coke tastes SO good,” page after page explains why the Coke tastes so good at our fast food chain. It was already a conversation in pop culture – all we had to do was shine a light on it.

We thought the best way to do this was to take the brand entirely out of the conversation with a first-of-its-kind unbranded integrated campaign. By never mentioning the brand, we could tap into second-screen curiosity, driving consumers to perform a search for “that place where Coke tastes SO good.” There’s nothing better than a third-party endorsement and there’s no bigger third-party endorsement than a Google organic search.


On April 11, 2017, we launched the “Search” campaign through a YouTube mobile masthead placement that drove consumers directly to the search results page for “that place where Coke tastes SO good.” Later that evening, during primetime television viewing hours, we began to seed the first television commercial. Throughout that first week, we released several additional television spots on broadcast, online video and a unique YouTube channel. We used the first week of the campaign to introduce people to the conversation already happening online around Coke at McDonald’s. And in the two weeks that followed, once everyone was in on the joke, we had the luxury of continuing to push our $1 Coke message by referencing our own campaign and continuing to be part of topical conversations. Throughout the three-week campaign period we also launched a series of banner ads, radio, print and social to accompany the video work.


? Nielsen Study Trial for “$1 any size” soft drinks was the highest of all previous campaigns (Source: Nielsen)

? In the first two weeks, the campaign drove an 18,400% increase in search intent (Source: Google Trends)

? There were 411,166,83 unique visits per month in earned media (Source: Muckrack)

? There were 61 articles published about the campaign (Source: Muckrack)

? We attracted 2,055 organic social campaign mentions on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook (does not include McDonald's or Mindy Kaling posts). (Source: Sprinklr)

? Our total paid social impressions were over 275.8M (Source: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

? YouTube masthead impressions: 274M (Source: YouTube)

Total views for all “Search” campaign content – “Pixelated,” “That Place,” “Secret Identity,” “Beverage Technician,” “Search,” “Cancelled”: 4.2M (Source: YouTube)


We needed something that could differentiate our promotion in a crowded market as we could not win on price alone. For McDonald’s Coke, that was the taste – McDonald’s undeniably serves the best Coke. In fact, there’s a science behind the craft – from the water filtration process to the iconic custom straw. But did consumers know or even care? Social listening revealed an insane level of cultural fandom for McDonald’s Coke. Nearly a third of all conversations about McDonald’s beverages were about our Coke alone.

To ensure this sentiment wasn’t just a social niche, we fielded a national study of 2,000 US adults, asking them, “Of all the places that serve fountain Coke, who has the best?” We found that McDonald’s beat out every fast food competitor 4 to 1. We then looked at organic search queries surrounding McDonald’s Coke, to discover there was an insatiable curiosity about why


McDonald’s has always been regarded as an iconic American hamburger brand – the largest hamburger fast food chain in the US. Yet very few consider McDonald’s a beverage destination. This spring, the company sought to change that. In April, McDonald’s ran its first national “$1 any size” soft drink campaign to bring guests back into restaurants.

Sales forecasts were ambitious, despite strong competition from convenience stores (7-Eleven, Speedway, Circle K, QuikTrip) and quick service restaurants (Sonic, Burger King, Wendy’s, Chick-fil-A, Carl’s Jr.) that have consistently run national beverage promotions at competitive price points (often for less than $1). And while this was a value promotion, 28% of current customers were purchasing their drinks elsewhere because they felt they could get a better deal (Source: TCCC – Mind Gap Study, August 2014). With lack of loyalty and no equity in the beverage promotional space, we needed to tackle this issue differently.

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