The campaign, titled #CelebrateBetter, is also the brand’s first Twitter-first campaign in the UK. It is asking families to submit photos of their children’s goal celebrations for a chance of winning a spot as a player escort at next summer’s UEFA Euro 2016 in France.
The marketing push is part of an effort to drive awareness of the “Better Play” programme, which provides Nike or Adidas branded kits and equipment to over 7,000 clubs.
Steve Hill, McDonald’s head of marketing for the UK, told Marketing Week: “We’ve been working with the four Home Nation football clubs for about 13 years now and last year we relaunched our sponsorship deals and reframed the programme to focus on community football and the grassroots game.”
He said the brand wants to focus on ensuring children have “the best possible opportunity to enjoy local football” rather than on creating elite athletes.
“The programmes we’ve historically run have been more diverse and we wanted to put grassroots at the heart and make sure we connected with communities,” he added. “Football is a great opportunity to do so.”
Connecting through Twitter
Hill said that Twitter provides an opportunity to connect with parents and encourage them to engage with the brand and the programme.
McDonald’s UK has already seen a 10% increase in followers to its Twitter account within the first few weeks of the campaign, according to Hill.
“This is the biggest social-led campaign we’ve ever embarked upon in the UK,” he said.
“We are a broadcast media led business in the way we do marketing, but we’ve been starting to evolve that significantly in the last 18 months or so. Social is more of a focus for us now, but this campaign is one of the first to have social at its heart.”
The brand used Periscope for the first time to broadcast activity from a Better Play event at Wembley Stadium last Sunday (2 August) as well as during last weekend’s FA Community Shield, during which the brand took over Olympic Way and the Bobby Moore Bridge with a branded wrap.
It will continue to use live streamlining, photo and video content during its touring UK “Community Football Days” series.
McDonald’s is also partnering with Mumsnet, BritMums and parenting bloggers to “allow them to share their grassroots experiences” through content, according to Hill.
“It’s allowing a forum for the conversation to happen about women getting more involved in the game,” he added.