McDonald's Promo, Case study THE GOURMET EXPERIMENT 3/5 by Heye & Partner Munich, Print Communications

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Industry Fast food
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Germany
Agency Heye & Partner Munich
Creative Director Andreas Forberger
Agency Print Communications
Art Director Andrew Schofield
Editor Andre Wolf
Released March 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Retail and E-commerce, including Restaurants
Product/Service: McDONALD'S
Chief Communications Officer: Amir Kassaei (DDB Worldwide)
Managing Director: Thomas Diekmann (Heye Und Partner)
Senior Consultant Pr Und Event: Sarah Lüth (Pr!nt Communications Consultants)
Managing Director/Creative Director/Copywriter: Peter Prislin (Heye Und Partner)
Creative Director: Andreas Forberger (Heye Und Partner)
Chief Communications Officer: Mathias Jahn (Heye Und Partner)
Managing Director: Peter Johannes (Pr!nt Communications Consultants)
Art Director: Andrew Schofield (Heye Und Partner)
Agency Producer: Denise Kaiser (Heye Und Partner)
Director/Producer: Carmen Schumacher (Carmen Schumacher Filmproduktion)
Camera: Matthias Barth (Carmen Schumacher Filmproduktion)
Editor: André Wolf (Carmen Schumacher Filmproduktion)
Chief Marketing Officer: Matthias Becker (Mcdonald's Germany)
Media placement: Teaser Video - Facebook/ Youtube - 01.03.2012
Media placement: Facebook Page - Facebook - 01.03.2012
Media placement: Invitation - Mobile - 03.03.2012
Media placement: Event - Live Event - 05.03.2012
Media placement: Press Release - Regional daily Press, Communication and Gastronomy Trade Press - 06.03.2012
Media placement: Video - Youtube - 08.03.2012

Summary of the Campaign
Some people don't believe in the quality of McDonald's' products. Our task was to prove them wrong.

McDonald's as a brand, and as a restaurant, has millions of fans. But there's always the broader audience: the general public. People are sceptical and very careful, especially when food and nutrition are concerned. Quality is crucial, and extremely important for a brand that has to convince millions of guests every single day.

We wanted to reach people that may not trust the quality of McDonald’s products and who prefer fashionable, plush restaurants. So we developed an unconventional and exclusive PR-event: The Gourmet Experience 3/5.

We engaged a well-known young chef and set up a gourmet restaurant for one night only (March 5th): with a professional kitchen, complete team, welcoming ambiance, a modern corporate identity, as well as its own Facebook Page and YouTube channel.

Selected foodies were invited to this gourmet experience with young Munich star Chef, Bernd Arold. We filled the Facebook Page with alluring pictures and videos, put up a YouTube channel and sent out invitations. On the evening of the event, chef Bernd Arold prepared a delicious 4-course-meal. What the guests did not know: it was completely made out of McDonald’s products!

At the end of the meal, the chef and his team revealed the secret. The announcement was met with surprise, laughter, and enthusiastic applause. The 'wow effect' was tremendous. All guests had a very enjoyable culinary experience that showcased the quality of McDonald’s products.

The Situation
Trust in food quality has proved to be 1 of the key success factors for any brand within the gastronomy sector. McDonald’s has always been focused on high quality and has been communicating it publicly for years, welcoming 'quality scouts' to a behind-the-scenes look into McDonald’s and its suppliers. Of course, some target groups have remained skeptical.

Nothing is more convincing than personal experience. This is especially true for well-informed connoisseurs, who are often opinion leaders.

In order to avoid negative associations, we decided to disguise the typical McDonald’s appearance, but added nothing but McDonald’s products to the dishes.

The Goal
Our main goal was to tap into a new way to convince a small, but influential, group of people directly, and to do so in a manner that would draw enough attention to find its way into the media and therefore towards a broader audience. The personal (positive) experience of an unexpected evening with/at McDonald’s could help overcome possible prejudices even more than transparent and open communication. It is less educational, but it offers a very fun and surprising way to experience McDonald’s quality.

The Strategy
The campaign was based on 'smooth beguiling': give the test eaters an opportunity to take part in a gourmet experiment, with exceptional ingredients. Then they will be open to taste the quality of the food: of gourmet cuisine, not fast food. All elements of the campaign and the event had to be tailored to a high-class gourmet event, the creative invitation via mobile ticketing, a stylish restaurant with obliging high-end service and a well-known chef, good wine, and sumptuous food styling.

We wanted to open the connoisseurs’ eyes during a fun and pleasant evening event, without giving anyone the feeling of being preached to or swindled. It was then that the chef, a distinguished and prestigious expert, revealed which ingredients he had used for the meal and thanked the crowd for an experiment that was just as interesting and challenging for him as well.

It all started with the restaurant’s own Facebook Page and YouTube channel. We posted a video in which Bernd Arold, our distinguished chef and 'partner in crime', announced that he was going to cook with ingredients he had never used before. 30 unsuspecting guests received the link to the video and a mobile ticket for the 3/5 Gourmet Experiment.

On the evening of March 5th, our guests were greeted by Bernd Arold and seated on beautifully decorated tables in a stylish pop-up location. A 4-course meal was served, together with selected wines, the only part of the meal that was not made with McDonald’s' products.

After dessert, Bernd Arold confessed to his guests that they had just spent an evening at McDonald’s, which caused surprised laughter and a huge round of applause. Everyone agreed: It was a delectable meal and a fantastic evening.

Documented Results
A professional film team documented the guests’ satisfaction and enthusiasm. The guests were interviewed individually, and each said that he/she was highly pleased and positively surprised. They all stated that they felt as if they had witnessed a very interesting experiment. Approximately 2/3 of them had not suspected any link to McDonald’s or to fast food in general.

Pictures and videos of the evening, the guests’ reactions, and a making-of video showing Bernd Arold and his team deconstructing McDonald’s products were posted on Facebook and YouTube for the participants to view and share.

Different on, and offline media reported on The Gourmet Experience 3/5. Some quotes: "The meal tasted fantastic!" (Gourmet Report), "A menu with a surprise-effect!" (Gastronomie-Report), "Fast food with Sterling cutlery!" (Werben & Verkaufen).

Both the client and the agency were very satisfied with the results of this local promotion (in Munich, Germany): over 550,000 online visits/print circulation.