The ‘Journey to Christmas’ campaign is centered around the role that McDonald’s plays during people’s Christmas trips to see family and friends.
An opening 60-second TV ad, which airs on 24 November and was created by Leo Burnett London, features a young family making a long car journey just before Christmas Day, singing Wizzard’s classic song. In the ad, the fictional family break up the trip with a visit to McDonald’s.
The call to action at the end of the ad encourages the British public to film themselves singing this same song while on their own Christmas journeys and to submit it online. Subsequently, each entry will be in with a chance of starring in an additional 90 second Christmas day advert from the fast food giant, which will be broadcast during Coronation Street.
McDonald’s head of marketing Steve Hill says its focus has shifted significantly this year from the “low-key” and product-focused campaigns of the past.
He told Marketing Week: “We used to do very low-key festive campaigns that were focused on food and beverage. This year we wanted to highlight the broader emotive role that the brand plays in people’s Christmas journeys. It’s certainly our biggest Christmas campaign yet in terms of investment.
“We’re not anyone’s main destination for Christmas food, but we do play a role in Christmas shopping and especially when people stop off during journeys to see their friends and families. We wanted to celebrate that trend and our customers.”
Targeting the younger generation
Besides the above the line activity, the brand is also partnering with Heart FM to promote a “cab-i-oke” experience that will be touring cities across the UK and allow the public to record their own festive song submission, as well as receive a free ride.
To get the message out to a millennial audience, it is also heavily working with social media vloggers.
“We’re using social media influencers to try and spread the word as far as possible,” added Hill. Millennials aged between 16-24 are our big focus and the bloggers we’ve picked are based around various passion points, from fashion and sport to music. They are people who have built big followings in those areas.”
Hill also explained that the experiential direction of the Christmas campaign will continue for McDonald’s marketing throughout 2016.
He concluded: “We’re looking to do more holistic campaign activations. We will hopefully be much more engaged with our customers, which means we’re not just talking at them but engaging with them and creating that two way dialogue that hopefully will give us a deeper role in their lives.”