McDonald’s is on the hunt for some fresh faces as part of a company-wide campaign to energize consumer ties to the brand.
The fast-food company yesterday kicked off its first-ever global online casting call, offering customers a chance to find a starring role on its packaging (bags and cups) used each day in more than 100 countries in 2007. The contest, designed to extend the QSR’s “i’m lovin’ it” campaign, is the company’s latest attempt to highlight and further engage everyday consumers.
To participate, consumers must submit a story of 100 words or less describing what they love most about life, plus a digital photo that captures their story, to Mcdglobalcasting.com. The Web site is available in 16 languages.
McDonald’s will select 25 winners from the pool of entries around the world that highlight the campaign’s themes of inspiration, passion and fun. The winners will fly on an all-expense paid trip to London in August for a photo session with renowned lifestyle photographer Nick Clements. The photos will feature winners demonstrating their passions and hobbies, from sports and music, to entertainment and fashion.
This isn’t the first time McDonald’s has featured consumers on its packaging. For more than two years, the QSR has recruited via street-casting everyday people who embodied the “i’m lovin’ it” campaign; such faces have then been featured on its cups and bags. The company has also featured famous faces on its packaging, including Olympic athletes, tennis superstars Venus Williams and Serena Williams and basketball star Yao Ming.
This time, however, McDonald’s is asking consumers to nominate themselves for a chance at stardom.
Some 50 million customers visit McDonald’s 31,000 worldwide restaurants each day.
“Part of the brand’s DNA has always been to really interact with and engage our customers,” Dean Barrett, McDonald’s senior VP, global marketing, said yesterday. “Two-and-a-half years ago when we introduced new packaging designs…we wanted real people on our packaging to represent the real spirit of life—from all walks of life. This is the next natural step.”
“Consumers have tremendous connections with ‘i’m lovin’ it’ around the world,” he added. “This is just another great opportunity to take it up another octave in terms of engagement.”
Submissions will be accepted though May 31. Selected consumers will be notified by Aug. 1. Online materials support. The Boxer Agency and The Marketing Store, both based in England, handle.
“We think there [are] great stories and insight out there,” Barrett said.
McDonald’s announced plans to launch the contest last month at the PMA Annual Conference 2006 in Chicago (Xtra, March 9).
In other news, McDonald’s is gearing up for potential backlash that may result from a new movie and book due out this year. Eric Schlosser, author of the 2001 Fast Food Nation, which exposed McDonald’s in a negative light, plans to release a movie on the very subject. The book is co-authored by Charles Wilson.
The movie, Fast Food Nation due out this year, examines the health risks involved in the fast food industry, including its environmental and social consequences. To add further power to the punch, Schlosser also plans to release a new book Chew on This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food, which has been called a somewhat-less-stomach-churning look at the fast-food industry’s growth, practices and effects on public health. The book debuts next month.
McDonald’s executives said they are aware of the new movie and book, but said the company isn’t planning anything out of the ordinary to refute claims from the upcoming book or movie. Instead, company officials said McDonald’s plans to boost its healthy menu items and new products to refresh consumers’ minds that it’s about more than just fast food.
“McDonald’s priority focus continues to be on our customers,” company spokesperson Walt Riker said. “We listen closely to them and welcome constructive feedback. We welcome an objective and fair discussion about issues important to our customers.”
“Our responsibility is to tell the whole McDonald’s story based on the facts, and the facts are on our side,” he added. “The McDonald’s family will vigorously communicate this information to correct any misrepresentations about our restaurants, our people, or our values.”