YELLOW CABS by DDB Hong Kong for McDonald's

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Industry Fast food
Media Outdoor, Billboard, Poster, Transportation & Vehicles
Market Hong Kong SAR China
Agency DDB Hong Kong
Executive Creative Director Jeffry Gamble
Art Director Winnie Chan, Sum Leung, Ciff Luk
Producer Annie Tong, Alex Li
Released May 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Guerilla Marketing in a Promotional Campaign
Advertiser: McDONALD'S
Date of First Appearance: Oct 10 2010
Entry URL:
Executive Creative Director: Jeffry Gamble (DDB Group Hong Kong)
Creative Director/Copywriter: Paul Chan (DDB Group Hong Kong)
Creative Director/Art Director: Ong Shi Ping (DDB Group Hong Kong)
Art Director: Ciff Luk (DDB Group Hong Kong)
Art Director: Winnie Chan (DDB Group Hong Kong)
Art Director: Sum Leung (DDB Group Hong Kong)
Producer: Annie Tong (DDB Group Hong Kong)
Producer: Alex Li (DDB Group Hong Kong)
Vice President Regional Director: Peter Rodenbeck (DDB Group Hong Kong)
Business Director: Irene Tsui (DDB Group Hong Kong)
Associate Account Director: Meggy Cheng (DDB Group Hong Kong)
Account Manager: Rainco Lam (DDB Group Hong Kong)
Senior Account Executive: Koman Ko (DDB Group Hong Kong)
Media placement: Direct - HK Taxis - Oct 10, 2010

Describe the objective of the promotion.
In Hong Kong, the McDonald’s menu has remained relatively unchanged in years.

With no real variety on offer, sales have been flat. Even die-hard customers were relapsing – finding nothing new on the menu to excite them.

So when McDonald’s had an exciting all-new burger in the pipeline, DDB’s challenge was to launch their New York-style burger in a way that truly engages Hong Kongers.

However, in the choice-saturated culinary capital of Hong Kong, new food items need to work extra hard to be noticed, and without buzz, it just won’t cut through.

Describe how the promotion developed from concept to implementation.
We took one of Hong Kong’s most famous icons – the red taxi – and turned it yellow.

We built a fleet of iconic New York Yellow Cabs for real and hit the streets of Hong Kong – offering free rides to any McDonald’s restaurant.

For two weeks, passengers could flag them down or head to one of our dedicated New York taxi stands. We even set up a reservation hotline – picking up passengers from any point in Hong Kong.

To top it off, a redemption coupon was then offered with every cab ride to enjoy a New York-style burger for free.

Explain why the method of promotion was most relevant to the product or service.
Since yellow cabs are as iconic to New York as red cabs are to Hong Kong, infiltrating the streets was the perfect way to bring a taste of New York to Hong Kong (and to promote McDonald’s New York-style burger).

We had to catch people off guard to become one of the most talked-about stories on the streets.

It was a big, simple idea for a major new launch for one of the world’s biggest food brands.

Needless to say, it was also the first time that New York Yellow Cabs had been seen on the streets of Hong Kong.

Describe the success of the promotion with both client and consumer including some quantifiable results.
The Yellow Cab campaign drove traffic to McDonald’s… quite literally.

While thousands of passengers grabbed a free ride, many thousands more talked about it – on websites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and even national TV.

Within just two weeks, McDonald’s sold over 1 million New York-style burgers. To put this into perspective, this means that one in seven people ordered the burger during our campaign period.

Most restaurants sold out on launch day.

And our New York-style burger became one of the fastest-selling new burgers at McDonald’s in years.