Regional Senior Marketing Director : Carl Pichette
Regional Marketing Specialist : Marie-Claude Filion
Chief Creative Officer : Antoine Bécotte
Creative Director : Chris Bergeron
Associate Creative Director : Vicky Morin
Copywriter : Marc-André Vigneault
Art Director : Dominique Audet
Brand Director : Andrée Losier
Account Manager : Catherine Richard
Agency Producer : Marie-Piere Poulin
Production Company : Jet Films
Director : Alexis Durand-Brault
Producer : Véronique Poulin
Media Agency: OMD
Media Group Director : Bobby Destounis
|Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):||January to June 2015|
|Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: ||March 18, 2015|
|Base Period as a Benchmark: ||January to June |
|Geographic Area: ||Quebec|
|Budget for this effort: ||$1 - $2 million|
McDonald’s has leveraged a simple and traditional sponsorship program with a professional team into a more than efficient and results-driven communication approach to make it a huge success in terms of business results. In a fierce category where it is truly difficult to gain traffic instore and increase sales, McDonald’s has succeeded in creating someting totally unexpected while being totally on brand - thus creating 31% incremental traffic during the targeted period, directly attributable to our specific initiative, and performing more than 2.5 times the incremental sales of an average limited time offer in the premium burger categorie.
McDonald’s is one of the most recognized companies in the world. Based on the incomparable attraction of its brand, the appeal of its offering and the strength of its retail system, it is one of the most successful quick service restaurants in Canada, and is particularly popular in Quebec. The strong relationship between McDonald’s and its Quebec consumers is rooted in its exceptional owner/operator team in the province and the fact that, over many decades, the brand has invested in the development of a direct conversation (featuring custom-made advertising efforts) with its French-Canadian consumers. As such, McDonald’s has become a part of the shared experience of Quebecers and is always looking for new ways to reinforce this connection.
Enter the Montreal Canadiens, who have been described as a religion in Quebec. The team perfectly exemplifies a positive shared experience and emotional engagement in the province. McDonald’s has been associated with the Canadiens as a sponsor for over 25 years. Recently, some direct competitors have also become sponsors of the hockey club in order to sustain their growth in Quebec. To overcome these competitors, we wanted to reinvent our partnership with the Montreal Canadiens to increase ROI and make it more efficient in terms of business, not just brand. So putting away the traditional “logo sonsorship” and other traditional sponsorship media in the Bell Centre, we wanted to get the Habs closer to the restaurants (where the business is).
To counteract the competitive strike, McDonald’s needed to develop a new strategic approach to take its partnership with the Montreal Canadiens to another, more productive level. The brand needed to break through the clutter of hockey sponsors and be perceived by consumers as a dominant “player” with the Canadiens. The proposed McPlayer campaign was an integrated initiative designed to bolster the association between brand and team in a tangible and compelling manner. The core message driving this campaign originates at the intersection of both brands.
McDonald’s and the Montreal Canadiens have a lot in common. They are both “unifying” brands, as they convey a sense of kinship and family. They are also both brands that Quebecers have a historical and emotional attachment to. Both organizations take great pride in their involvement in community work. Interestingly enough, whether it is at McDonald’s or on the Montreal Canadiens’ roster—every Quebecer has their favourite (meal or player).
The underlying strategy was all about bridging the gap between the hockey sponsorship and the restaurant. As such, primary business objectives focused on sales and traffic in store:
• Increase traffic in restaurants
• Increase sales
• Reinforce the notion of “I feel closer to the brand” and that McDonald’s “Has good-tasting food” (this is a KPI that McDonald’s is tracking monthly)
Underlying the success of the McPlayer program is the notion that McDonald’s and the Montreal Canadiens have a lot in common, specifically the following two points:
1) They are both “unifying” brands, as they convey a sense of kinship and family, plus they have both a historical and emotional attachment to Quebecers;
2) Whether it is at McDonald’s or on the Montreal Canadiens’ roster—every Quebecer has their favourite. Their favourite players and their favourite food items. And even if you aren’t a fan of the Montréal Canadiens and don't like their players, you still love McDonald's food.
For the Max67 project, this led to the core idea that McDonald’s is the place that can rally everybody, even those on opposing sides of a rivalry.
In other words, the Max67 is so good, it will be loved by everyone who tries it, even those who would most hate to admit it (the natural enemy of the Montreal Canadiens nation).
Dialling up the “they get it” factor for hardcore fans was the fact that Max Pacioretty had played a starring role in an unfortunate but unforgettable chapter in the long-standing Montreal–Boston rivalry, when he successfully came back from a potential career-ending injury sustained as a result of a brutal body check delivered by Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.
Ask all-star Canadien’s player Max Pacioretty to create his own burger. Get him to do the unthinkable: go to Boston on game day to see if fans like his Max67.
McDonald’s gamble paid off in spades. They got everyone to be a fan of the Max67… even those who aren’t.
We moved from a classic “logo sponsorship” program (in the Bell Centre and other owned media) to a truly engaging association between the two brands.
We thus expanded the McPlayer program, an integrated initiative (developed by Cossette with McDonald’s Canada) that distinctly and productively associated the McDonald’s brand and its offering with the Montreal Canadiens hockey club. The line of attack: a Montreal Canadien who creates their own burger. Specifically, the mandate was to generate awareness and excitement around the launch of the Max67, a new limited-time-offer burger personalized to the tastes of Max Pacioretty, star forward for the Habs.
Activations with Montréal Canadiens players get Quebec consumers more entice and open to engage with the associated brand. Having the product at the center of the storytelling, with a player deeply engaged in the creation of the product, is a great area to be when a brand want to generate concrete business results out of the communication.
We based the message on the most compelling aspect of the Max67, that it was actually conceived by an NHL hockey player, Max Pacioretty, specifically for hockey fans.
From there, we brought the core idea to life by taking it to the streets—of Boston. Using a “camera vérité” approach, we gave Pacioretty the mission of flying to Beantown on a game day and, dressed as a McDonald’s employee, introducing his signature burger to a crowd of unsuspecting Bruins fans to get their spontaneous feedback.
Their genuinely positive reactions said it all. Right up until the point where they found out who Max actually works for!
In terms of media, the overall strategy was to bolster this unprecedented stunt by integrating it seamlessly into the content most valued by Montreal Canadiens fans: a feature on the TV program 24CH (to launch the storytelling) and ad executions before, during and after Habs games (both online and offline).
- Over 31% of Max 67 buyers visited the restaurant solely because of the promotion
- increase of 250% premium burger category sales for the promotional period
- 2x more product brand recall vs. regular McDonald’s advertising
The McPlayer execution brought a significant increase in key brand metrics:
+17pts on “Has good-tasting food” tracker
+33 pts on “I feel closer to the brand”
Source: Ipsos McPlayer ad tracking
Against the backdrop of an overall decline in traffic in the quick service restaurant industry, McDonald’s was able to generate an incremental traffic increase of 31% during the targeted period, most of it directly attributable to the Max67 initiative. What’s more, the program achieved more than 2.5times the incremental sales of an average limited time offer for the premium category burger.
From a communications standpoint, the results were staggering: more than 27 million organic impressions in a market of 8 million people. Media's sur as the Sport Illustrated talked about the Max67 story.
One of the most successful McDonald’s LTO of all time in terms of sales, it achieved 93.7% brand recall and 91.1% product recall, which are exceptional in the crowded quick service restaurant market.
Source: Qualtrics 2015
43% intent to purchase after communication exposure, 50% higher than the IPSOS norm in the category.
Source: IPSOS Connect
Campaign spend vs. history and competition:
Pre-existing Brand momentum:
Changes in Distribution/Availability:
Unusual Promotional Activity:
Any other factors:
Due to the fact that the Montreal Canadiens were making the playoffs, enthusiasm was high and any activity related to the team generated keen interest.