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Hedgehog Hall of Fame: Mcdonald’s/Blue Rubicon - Farm Forward

28th August 2013


Company: Mcdonald's UK (with Blue Rubicon) Campaign: Farm Forward Category: Best Use of Research - South - Shortlisted Objectives McDonald’s UK serves 3 million customers a day, but research shows inaccurate perceptions persist about the quality of its menu ingredients and products. The reality is that more than half its ingredients are sourced from British and Irish farmers. It uses its scale to invest in research and animal welfare improvements, and requires its suppliers to meet industry-leading standards - but many people (farmers and consumers) are unaware of this commitment. We created Farm Forward - McDonald’s new long-term programme to help secure a sustainable future for British and Irish farming – to bring to life McDonald’s food and supply chain story in a way that would build trust among consumers and be valued by farmers. Target Audience Stakeholders, consumers, farmers. Strategy We created Farm Forward from the grassroots up by: • Undertaking research among farmers and consumers to understand what they’d value most from McDonald’s, in its support of British and Irish farming • Applied key research insights to create a framework that would bring together McDonald’s supply chain approach into a coherent programme: Farm Forward • Working closely with McDonald’s Supply Chain team, transforming research insights into tangible projects (e.g. pioneering training programme for agricultural students) Setting out our long-term ambition for Farm Forward through an ambitious, joined-up launch to stakeholders, consumers and the farming community (March 2012) Action Having applied such rigor to Farm Forward’s development, we launched it with: 1. Ambitious media strategy • In-depth media briefings with a senior McDonald’s spokesperson and third-party agricultural consultant - allowing us to explain McDonald’s rationale and the farming sector’s perspective (coverage in FT, Guardian.co.uk, The Sun, PA, BBC Online, all farming trades). • We extended our story into regional media by working with McDonald’s key suppliers to create a bank of supportive comments and case studies from independent farmers throughout the UK (e.g. Scotsman, Yorkshire Post). 2. Stakeholders bound in • We ensured credibility through public endorsement from Defra’s Secretary of State and the Prince’s Countryside Fund. • We shared Farm Forward with more than 100 stakeholders through a pithy report giving an overview of Farm Forward and summary of the research we’d commissioned among farmers, brought to life with case studies of innovative and aspiring farmers. • We got McDonald’s supplier networks behind us and provided Facebook posts, Tweets and newsletter copy to encourage them to share Farm Forward. 3. Creativity/Originality • Identified new statistics outlining McDonald’s increasing UK supply chain spend – enhancing business relevance, newsworthiness and proof that it’s a major and growing customer of British and Irish farming and, created short video featuring innovative farmers and agricultural students (ran editorially on Farmers Weekly Interactive, played at industry conferences, on consumer website whatmakesmcdonalds. co.uk) and HD-quality B-Roll shot on a farm to give broadcasters. Results Raising awareness • 92 pieces of high-impact coverage (99 per cent positive/neutral) • Following launch, ‘promotes local suppliers’ and ‘responsible attitude to environment’ among top three messages in all media coverage referencing McDonald’s. ‘Good quality food’ became one of the top three leading product messages. • Pre-launch, none of these featured in leading message rankings (Echo Research) • Overwhelmingly positive response on social media including tweets by Guardian Sustainable Business (15,747 followers) Securing support and engagement • Stakeholders - Endorsement from DEFRA’s Secretary of State and Prince’s Countryside Fund • Farmers - Publicly commended by editors of Farmers Weekly and Farm Business • Consumers - Online film attracted over 500 views on consumer website whatmakesmcdonalds.co.uk and received positive comments from consumers Commercial impact Number of people who trust McDonald’s has reached all-time high – correlated with strong and sustained commercial sales growth (TNS, July 2011-June 2012) URL http://www.mcdonalds.co.uk/ukhome/whatmakesmcdonalds/articles/farm-forward.html The PRmoment Golden Hedgehog Awards 2014 are now open for entries. Here are this years updated categories.

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