How McDonald’s fooled a nation with ‘Three Fries’ and drove app downloads

By Awards Analyst | The Drum Awards

June 21, 2022 | 4 min read

McDonald’s and Ready10 won in the PR category at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2022. Here, we find out more about what went into their successful project...

The brief

In January 2021, McDonald’s came to Ready10 with a challenge – how could it hook product offers into culturally relevant calendar moments to drive use and downloads of its app? Its core objectives were to increase engagement and conversation across all its primary social channels and generate deal reclamation.

The idea

Ready10 identified themes around what it calls brand truths. Most customers have things they love about McDonald’s and the experiences they take from the brand all differ, whether it’s dunking fries in a milkshake or their favorite shape of Chicken McNugget.

The agency developed a strategy based on the insight that, when ordering fries from McDonald’s, we all have ‘that mate’ who is partial to nicking a few off of us. Ready10 knew this would be relatable to customers so wanted to create an idea to put an end to this plight.

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The strategy was to create an idea that was relatable, shareable and engaging, to clearly communicate and tie the idea back to an offer available exclusively via the My McDonald’s App and push people to the app to redeem the deal.

McDonald’s promoted a new fries box that held just three individual fries and that customers could give to a dining companion to help prevent their own from being stolen. ‘Available’ until midday on April 1 exclusively via the My McDonald’s app, ’Three Fries’ could be ordered for free alongside an order of McDonald’s Fries.

After fooling plenty of people with the announcement of a ‘new product launch’ that morning, Ready10 needed to do something to soften the blow. At 12:01, it announced a deal – 50% off medium fries for the rest of the day, available exclusively for orders on the My McDonald’s app.

Ready10 designed, developed and printed the ’Three Fries’ packaging and secured a photographer and model for a Covid-compliant photo shoot. Also, it captured lifestyle product imagery to communicate the product to consumers and sent orders of ’Three Fries’ out to media on the morning of April 1.

The results

There was no paid media support for the idea or deal. The organic social impact, coupled with the PR results, generated tens of thousands of redemption of the offer within the first four hours of it being announced.

The April Fool’s idea generated over 3 million organic impressions across McDonald’s social channels, including generating the highest organic reach on Facebook this year. The content also achieved an average engagement rate of 13%, the highest the brand has ever seen – a significant rate when you consider the sheer size of its social audience.

Earned media coverage was driven around two key moments; the ‘launch’ of the product and the associated reveal of the deal, with pick-up in three nationals and regional coverage.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2022. You can see all the winners here.

And check out which of The Drum Awards are currently open for entry.

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