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Hedgehog Hall of Fame: McDonald’s/Blue Rubicon - Happy Meal Books

30th August 2013


Company: McDonald's UK (with Blue Rubicon) Campaign: McDonald’s Happy Meal Books Category: Consumer PR Campaign of the Year - South - Shortlisted Objectives • Use the Happy Meal promotion to position McDonald’s as a progressive business, continuing to drive reappraisal among opinion formers and consumers • Show that McDonald’s continues to evolve the Happy Meal by looking for products for families that are fun, exciting and educational • Complement McDonald’s advertising to raise awareness Target Audience Consumers; Stakeholders; Customers who may not currently visit McDonald’s Strategy • We created a tight, compelling narrative that positioned McDonald’s as an innovative forward-looking business, without overstepping the areas where McDonald’s has credibility, so that we had a robust argument to underpin our proactive story and use as the basis for response to criticism • We asked third-party campaigning groups to endorse the promotion, and provide broader social commentary on the need to get children and families reading together • In the absence of Michael Morpurgo (who was busy promoting his new War Horse film) we engaged a celebrity parent to act as spokesperson and appeal to McDonald’s core customer base and increase newsworthiness • We embedded social media tactics within our media strategy, successfully driving positive high-volume debate on Twitter and Facebook and engaging with McDonald’s followers online Action 1. Engaging stakeholders and securing third party endorsement • We briefed influential literacy organisations and stakeholders on the Happy Meal partnership with HarperCollins to engage them in the campaign and secure their endorsement. This was imperative, to avoid any negative criticism of McDonald’s intentions behind the promotion and give the campaign greater credibility • We secured the backing of the National Literacy Trust (NLT), the most influential literacy organisation in the UK, who gave us access to their research on the decline of children owning books and provided us with a broadcast spokesperson on literacy issues • We proactively contacted our top 100 relevant stakeholders to inform them of the promotion 2. Campaigning in a consumer-friendly way • In the absence of Michael Morpurgo, we engaged single-dad-of-two Jeff Brazier to provide the voice in our announcement and extend the talkability of the promotion among McDonald’s customer base. Jeff was crucial in bringing to life the importance of reading with children, as well as offering easy-to-follow tips for parents on how to read aloud • We commissioned compelling photography and developed an online video featuring Jeff’s top tips, which was seeded to online and parenting trades, achieving coverage in Hello! Online, New Mother and Mums Street 3. Raising awareness and driving debate • Our announcement led with the scale of the promotion, and we increased the story’s depth by referencing the NLT’s independent research and including endorsement from the NLT, Jeff Brazier and HarperCollins. • We also worked with Jeff Brazier to create his storytelling tips for parents. This drove coverage including Daily Telegraph, Guardian, The Independent, Daily Mirror, The Times, The Sun, as well as leading online sites such as Huffington Post, marketing trades and regional media • Jeff Brazier and the NLT led 13 interviews across BBC and commercial radio stations to promote the promotion • We seeded key messages within Jeff’s weekly column in the Daily Mirror, which reaches an audience of over 1 million • Jeff tweeted about the campaign throughout launch day, using the #happymealbooks hashtag to reach his 240,000 followers • Thanks to prominent news coverage and social media conversations, commentators including Terence Blacker endorsed the move – devoting his column in The Independent to the story – and it created debate on Sky News Newspaper Review. The story was also picked up internationally, most notably in New York Daily News 4. Extending the debate on social media • We embedded social media into the heart of the campaign from the start, by creating engaging content on the McDonald’s Facebook page, campaigning hashtags for Twitter and suggested text for our campaign ambassadors. This was instrumental in generating positive online debate • Jeff Brazier, national journalists, McDonald’s and its partners all tweeted about the story, leading to a nationwide public debate about the campaign Results Media coverage • 160 pieces of coverage with 64.5 million opportunities to see/ hear • 13 radio interviews reaching a breakfast audience of 1.8 million • 98% of coverage positive or neutral – leading to brand reappraisal of McDonald’s • Coverage spread across high reach consumer and business media channels, reaching a mass audience Audience engagement & social media • Happy Meal Books generated debate among consumers and stakeholders, leading to the story trending positively on Twitter on launch day • There were around 2,000 online mentions of Happy Meal Books on launch day • 79% positive or neutral twitter sentiment Stakeholder engagement • Nick Gibb MP, Minister for Schools, positively cited the promotion as an example of how organisations are supporting literacy and encouraging children to read in a House of Commons debate on Early Reading • Tracey Crouch, MP for Chatham & Aylesford, tweeted positively about the promotion to her 3,217 followers According to TNS research, McDonald’s has regained the high trust ratings it experienced in 2002 URLs http://www.mcdonalds.co.uk/ukhome/whatmakesmcdonalds/articles/mum-louise-meets-fruitizz-experts.html The PRmoment Golden Hedgehog Awards 2014 are now open for entries. Here are this years updated categories.

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