Forget the 12 days of Christmas. To rise above the holiday-season marketing clutter, McDonald’s opted for 21 days of gifting. For three weeks, the fast-food chain partnered with American Express to give away $90,000 worth of Amex and McDonald’s gift cards every day.
Created with The Marketing Store Worldwide, the campaign enabled customers to enter the sweepstakes via QR codes on select carryout bags, cups, and menu-item boxes that linked to a dedicated microsite. Consumers could also enter by heading directly to the site online. The microsite’s visuals were designed with an emphasis on the cute-and-fuzzies, so that visitors would feel McDonald’s “lovin’ it” spirit.
A prepromotion email alerted subscribers to the campaign, which launched Dec. 2, 2014; two follow-up emails served as reinforcement. Six TV spots, along with print and radio ads, ampified awareness of the campaign, as did digital banners illustrating the joy of sharing a gift with friends and family. Knowing that the point-of-sale materials highlighting the sweepstakes would command plenty of attention, McDonald’s also used them to promote a seasonal offer: a 20-piece McNuggets for $5. The large size of the McNuggets tied in with the overarching theme of sharing.
The sweepstakes ended up being one of McDonald’s most popular, with more than 4 million entries—more than 190,000 a day—during the three-week period. Nearly 2 million people used their smartphones to scan the QR codes on the packaging, and the promotional emails had an average click-through rate of 6%, more than three times the average for emails sent by restaurants.