290 Calorie Egg McMuffin

Events, Seasonal and Short-Term (SILVER)

Client Credits: McDonald's Canada
Joel Yashinsky, Chief Marketing Officer
Catherine Crozier, Director of Marketing - Breakfast, McCafe & Beverages
Hope Bagozzi, Senior Director – Creative and Digital Innovation
Angie Law, Senior Category Marketing Manager - Breakfast
Jocelyn Young, National Marketing Specialist
Guylaine Hudon, Directrice de la Publicite Nationale
Gemma Templeton, Creative Specialist

Agency Credits: Cossette Communication Inc.
David Daga, Creative Director, Co-Chief Creative Officer
Matthew Litzinger, Creative Director, Co-Chief Creative Officer
Christian Desrosiers, Creative Director (Montreal)
Valerie Swatkow, SVP, National Brand Leader
Carolyn Scharf, Brand Group Director
Genevieve Cote/Traci Ruysseveldt, Brand Supervisor
Eve Cuthbertson, Account Coordinator
Peter Gardiner, Senior Writer
Ken Fothergill, Senior Art Director
Heather Moshoian, Broadcast Producer
Marianne Poirier, Brand Director (Montreal)
Marie-Andrée Dupont, Brand Supervisor (Montreal)
Mélanie Delisle, Montreal Writer
Annick D'auteuil, Montreal Producer
OMD - Lori Gibb, Managing Director
OMD - Jeremy Graham, Group Director of Strategy
OMD - Sofia Sourtiz, Senior Strategist
OMD - Doug Scott, VP Broadcast Manager
Tribal DDB - Ben Playford, Associate Creative Director (digital)
Tribal DDB - Amy O’Neill, Art Director (digital)
Tribal DDB - Tracy Wan, Copywriter (digital)
Tribal DDB - Chris Webden, Producer (digital)
Tribal DDB - Ryan O’Hagan, Account Director (digital)
Tribal DDB - Taylor Pawsey, Account Coordinator (digital)
Tribal DDB - Heung Lee, Flash Developer (digital)


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):December 8, 2013-March 2, 2014
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: January 1, 2014
Base Period as a Benchmark: December, 2012

a) Overall Assessment

It was 1971 when the first Egg McMuffin® was introduced as part of McDonald's new breakfast menu. At that time, it was seen as an innovative way to eat breakfast, and it was one of the first breakfast sandwiches made available with the main benefit being, that it was a complete morning meal made to be eaten the same way as many other McDonald's menu items with one hand.

From there, the McDonald's Egg McMuffin became a staple of the chain's breakfast menu and helped to completely transform the on-the-go breakfast experience, while elevating the McDonald's brand above the competitors (who did not begin serving breakfast options until the mid-1980's).

Over the years the demand for convenient, easy to eat and on-the-go mealtime solutions have been on the rise across the QSR category and in order to compete against McDonald's, many quick service restaurant competitors have been placing additional emphasis on their breakfast daypart, launching new breakfast menu items, and even breakfast sandwiches that mimic the McDonald's Egg McMuffin.

Although the taste of the McDonald's Egg McMuffin could never truly be duplicated, the Egg McMuffin had become one of the most copied breakfast sandwiches available at QSR; resulting in a cluttered QSR breakfast landscape that provided consumers with many alternative options to the McDonald's favourite.

Even though we were confident that the McDonald's Egg McMuffin was well known (98% awareness), and loved by everyone, consumers weren't purchasing it as frequently. Our defense was to maintain a leadership position and stake claim to the invention of this sandwich. We began focusing our advertising efforts on "One and Only" messaging. The objective at that time was to remind breakfast consumers that the iconic taste of the McDonald's Egg McMuffin could only be found at McDonald's, but the real challenge was that McDonald's needed to figure out how they could get consumers eating the Egg McMuffin on a more regular basis.

We had to think about whether there was something new to say about a breakfast sandwich that was perfected 40+ years prior that could help us drive frequency.

b) Resulting Business Objectives

McDonald's was looking to achieve the following with the 290 Calorie Egg McMuffin Message:

  • Grow McDonald's Egg McMuffin sales to help drive 2014 Breakfast growth objective of +10.3%
  • Contribute to QSR Morning Meal $ share increase (16.1 at Feb. 2013 and growing 14.2 or 1 full share point)

c) Annual Media Budget
$3 - $4 million

d) Geographic Area
National, English and French Canada

a) Analysis and Insight

Because the McDonald's Egg McMuffin was so well known and there was nothing different about the product, we had to work extra hard to find something new to tell consumers.

Research led us to the insight that consumers already know and love the McDonald's Egg McMuffin, but they assumed that something that delicious couldn't be good for them and therefore didn't buy it as often as they wanted. During focus groups, consumers were surprised and delighted to learn that the McDonald's Egg McMuffin was only 290 calories.

From there, our goal was to drive top-of-mind awareness of the 290 calorie McDonald's Egg McMuffin, in order to drive permissibility and promote eating it more often.  

b) Communication Strategy

The big idea was to leverage the surprise and delight that consumers felt once they knew that the McDonald's Egg McMuffin was better for them then they originally thought.

The campaign spoke specifically to the 290 calorie message and ran during the month of January; a time of year when consumers are likely feeling guilty following holiday indulgences and renew their health concious resolutions, which often results to quick service restaurants receiving less visits, or for some, often getting eliminated from consumer's diets entirely.

a) Media Used

  • TV
  • Radio
  • Digital Pre-roll & ad units
  • Social Media: Facebook , Twitter, YouTube

b) Creative Discussion

The campaign was brought to life across Canada through TV (:30 & :15's), Digital, Pre-Roll, owned YouTube, Facebook, Twitter property, and Radio (:30).

The :30 TV commercial leveraged a humourous and well known "Whaat!?" reaction that Canadian's often say, when responding to surprising, or sometimes unbelievable information.

The story is built around a workday professional who is seen at his desk enjoying the McDonald's Egg McMuffin when he spots the 290 calorie nutritional claim for the first time and feels the need to tell his co-worker. As his co-worker begins to react with a surprised "Whaat!?" another co-worker stops to inquire, followed by another and another.

We cut to a beauty shot of the one-and-only McDonald's Egg McMuffin which appears next to the 290 calorie message and visual ques for the freshly cracked Canadian egg.

The :30 Radio creative featured the same well known "Whaat!?" reaction told through a story by a gentlemen who believes everyone's reaction to the 290 McDonald's Egg McMuffin message would always receive a "whaat!?" response. 

c) Media Discussion

 The January Egg McMuffin window was an integrated campaign. Broadcast media was focused around the morning daypart and Radio was leveraged to drive frequency and target consumers during their morning commute.

a) Sales/Share Results

The original McDonald's Egg McMuffin  received an extreme lift in sales of +33% during the campaign window, (with a peak of +43% during the third week). Currently, the Egg McMuffin continues to sustain at higher levels when compared to the full Egg McMuffin lineup, representing some of the strongest Egg McMuffin sales results that we've ever seen.






























McDonald's share of morning meal increased by 1.5% (vs. objective of 1.0%) which is impressive in a large marture product segment.

b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

a) General Discussion

The Egg McMuffin has been a staple on the McDonald’s breakfast menu for over 40 years.  It is recognized by consumers as being the ‘original’ and they like it just the way it is; changing the recipe is not an option with such a beloved and iconic product.  Which made our task all the more difficult; how do we respond to increase competitive pressures without turning to product innovation or having new news?   If we couldn’t do anything new, we needed to find something new to say that would reenergize the business, make it top-of-mind with consumers, and give them another reason to fall in love all over again.  Through extensive consumer research we found a highly compelling consumer insight in the surprise and delight which consumers felt when discovering that the Egg McMuffin was better for them than they thought.  Overtly hitting on that insight in the advertising resonated incredibly well with consumers which resulted in unprecedented sales increases, particularly in product which is in a mature life cycle.  The product sales saw an immediate increase as soon as the advertising started and peaked mid-campaign and dropped off after the advertising finished (although it did sustain higher than ingoing).  There are no other variables to explain this increase other than the insightful advertising campaign.  

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels:

The total media campaign support across Television, Radio, Digital and Out of Home was $2,849,331


No price point was communicated in advertising.

Distribution Changes:

There were no distribution changes during this time. The McDonald's Egg McMuffin is available at all restaurant locations across Canada.

Unusual Promotional Activity:

The McDonald's Egg McMuffin was featured on the McDonald's January Unaddressed Mailer (December 27-February 2), alongside coupons promoting a 2 Can Dine Breakfast Meal Deal, however, this is not an unusual promotion. 

Other Potential Causes:

There were no other potential causes, whether market forces, commodity prices, etc., that would have impacted the business results for Egg McMuffin in 2014.