Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Mar 3, 2015

McDonald's asks China to 'seize the day' by seizing pancakes

CHINA - The pancake is on us, but the breakfast is on you. McDonald's gave away two million bacon-and-egg pancake vouchers yesterday in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The promotion under the proposition of seizing the day '拿下今天,从早餐开始' is really a soft sell of its higher-margin breakfast items.

Client: McDonald's

Agency: Solar Moon

Market: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen

Campaign scope: Online video with social media (Weibo and WeChat) and in-store activations, plus regular tactical executions to follow every Monday for the rest of the year.

Details: McDonald's China kicked off its ambition to strengthen its customer base for breakfast on the first Monday after the Spring Festival with a big push to the white-collar crowd in the above four cities.

Social-media activation during the preheat phase of the campaign began on 25 February to build up a sense of anticipation and awareness. A call for user-generated content to answer the question of 'What do you want to do today to 'seize the day'? was put out on its Weibo account. That saw more than 2,100 engagements (including forwards and comments).

Two million bacon-and-egg wheat pancake vouchers were subsequently distributed by means of mobile channels like the Alipay app, WeChat red packets, and location-based alerts from precision targeting. The overall message was 'Win today, starting from breakfast!'. 

According to data provided by the brand, actual redemption rates of the free pancakes ranged between 27 to 36 per cent, with Guangzhou on top.

Interview quote: Christine Xu, vice president and chief marketing officer at McDonald’s China: "Migrants from other parts of China have a tougher life in first-tier cities, so there is a bigger demand for breakfast. This consumer need has adjusted our media strategy with a vast majority of space bought on transit media. As the breakfast decision is very close to the point of purchase and not the night before, so cooperation with mobile platforms ties in well."

Campaign Asia Pacific's comments: Breakfast makes up less than a fifth of McDonald's total sales in China, so the business intent behind the campaign is clear. Tapping into the Chinese's hyper-ambition of wanting to make it big in life with 'carpe diem' is clever. The mechanism of having all activities completed on the mobile, from publicity to participation to redemption, improves on past efforts by providing personalisation and scale via technology.

Related: McDonald's gave away 5 million free McMuffins across 5,000 outlets in Asia, Middle East and South Africa on 18 March 2013 in a 'National Breakfast Day' campaign.


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