Digital Transformation Brand

Just visiting: did McDonald’s get stuck in its own Monopoly jail?

By Brett Gillett | Global strategic business development director

June 28, 2019 | 6 min read

McDonald’s 2019 marketing strategy for its annual Monopoly campaign relied heavily on digital and out of home (OOH) to make an impact with consumers. The promotion offers consumers a chance to win prizes ranging from free food to a luxury holiday, so encouraging activity on the Monopoly app – which when launched in Australia in 2016, skyrocketed to the number one app store position in the first 24 hours – is a key priority for the brand.

But as the global quick service restaurant’s (QSR) 2019 campaign excluded a powerful marketing tool, did it miss out on those all-important additional dollars from TV when “passing go”?

Building a property portfolio

With the aim of driving in-store footfall and increasing in-app activity, McDonald’s optimised its digital advertising in the Australian market using a variety of data signals throughout the media mix. From creative adjustments to location targeting, McDonald’s explored every “coast, valley and island” in its portfolio.


But with TV’s unparalleled reach – 19 million Australian’s tune in every week – and ability to drive both online and offline consumer response, McDonald’s is selling its innovative campaign short by working in silos across the media mix, separating TV from mobile and OOH ad campaigns.

Take a “chance”

Thanks to the rise of mobile devices – Australia will have 20 million smartphone users in 2019, with 85% of those connected devices – viewers are increasingly watching content with second-screen devices in-hand. This trend has enabled TV to evolve and become a driver of online response. From increased search and website visits to improved app activity, brands now have the opportunity to access TV’s power as a hybrid performance-marketing channel.

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But rolling the dice on TV response needn’t land McDonald’s “in jail” – stuck in limbo while its competitors edge ahead. Using a recent campaign from another global foodservice brand as an example, Delivery Hero scaled TV campaigns toward brand KPIs to positively impact revenue and cut out spend where performance is not ideal. To do this, Delivery Hero employed a sophisticated, aggressive, TV-led marketing strategy that spans continents.

With the aim of driving both brand awareness and immediate, digital response, Delivery Hero reduced its cost per acquisition (CPA) by 41.9% and improved its conversion ratio (CVR) significantly. While the McDonald’s Monopoly campaign saw an increase in app downloads and gameplay, this only generated a 3.33% uplift in sales. By focusing on personalised or dynamic creative billboards McDonald’s was able to achieve this uplift, however, it’s clear that TV can contribute to an even greater footfall and digital activity than OOH alone.

Winning the blue, green and yellow row

For McDonald’s, taking a granular look into TV performance is the next step. TV can now provide a real-time view into buy elements, proving which spots generate the greatest response. This insight – provided at a day, daypart, network, programme, genre and creative level – can then be used to optimise towards the brand KPIs: driving in-store footfall and increasing in-app activity.

Delivery Hero knew exactly what was working and what wasn’t – in near-real time and on a global scale – which meant that information was used to optimise TV campaigns on a number of metrics. Based on CPA, cost per order (CPO) and cost per visit (CPV) metrics the overall TV buying strategy could be adapted in-flight. These campaign insights also helped the food service brand build a better view of its consumers. A third of all smartphone users discover apps due to TV ads, so quantifying and then optimising TV’s impact on app activity became crucial.

Collecting $200 from the banker

With Deliveroo and UBER Eats both launching creative and engaging TV ad campaigns so far in 2019, McDonald’s has an opportunity to secure its own corner of the playing board. The QSR’s Monopoly campaign shot to infamy when it launched in the UK in 1987, now in 2019, McDonald’s can leverage technologies that allow one-click data integration for automated attribution, to move away from working in silos and incorporate TV into its marketing mix. This approach will enable McDonald’s to keep pace with competitors and ultimately win the game.

Brett Gillett is global strategic business development director at TVSquared.

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