Spikes Asia Case Study: How McDonald’s #EatQual campaign reached 11.1mn users

McDonald's #EatQual Spikes Asia Case Study

McDonald’s #EatQual Spikes Asia Case Study is focused on understanding how the brand created inclusive packaging for the differently-abled. The campaign garnered a reach of 11.1 mn while and saw a 2.5x growth in usage for the EatQual packaging between December 2020 and January 2021. It won a Grand Prix at Spikes Asia 2022

McDonald’s #EatQual Spikes Asia Case Study takes a look at how McDonald’s #EatQual campaign, which was aimed to make the simple pleasures of enjoying a burger easier for everyone, able-bodied or not. Garnering 300k+ organic views in 10 days, the campaign won several awards across boards. It won a Grand Prix at Spikes Asia 2022

Category Introduction

With the passage of time, the competition intensified in the Quick Service Retail (QSR) industry with brands like Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and Subway, among others, entering the market. Direct competitors such as Burger King also emerged and so did hundreds of smaller stand-alone restaurants, all of whom tried to ape McDonald’s.

Brand Introduction

McDonald’s has been present in India for close to 25 years. In that time, it has become a household name and the go-to destination for creating memories that people cherish for a lifetime. For millions growing up at the turn of the millennium and after, their first burger was at a McDonald’s store. With several products catering to the Indian taste palette, such as McAloo Tikki or the first “double-decker burger” in the Maharaja Mac, it was never treated as an “outsider”, a foreign brand.

McDonald’s was at the forefront of setting industry benchmarks and standards with its product innovation and stringent quality checks. It constantly innovated to continue delivering on its global promise of ‘Make Delicious Feel-Good Moments Easy For Everyone’.

McDonald’s #EatQual Spikes Asia Case Study – Summary

2% of India’s population is disabled, that’s nearly 27 million people – more than the entire population of Australia. 27 million individuals, who are routinely left out of marketing efforts, national initiatives and even the most basic experiences, because of deep-set apathy towards the disabled. Disability is an invisible problem in India.

At McDonald’s, the mission was to ‘Make Delicious Feel-Good Moments Easy For Everyone’. However, when disability was discussed, the conversation was only fixated on the easy, i.e., access, and not the feel-good experience.

The brand realised that for many people with limited upper limb disability the feel-good burger experience probably rated zero.

The objective was to right this wrong in a way that drove true inclusivity at McDonald’s – capturing the country’s attention, improving people’s perception of the brand and inviting audiences that had long been ignored by Food Retail.

Problem Statement/Objective

For millions, McDonald’s was where they had their first burger. It wasn’t just the market leader in attracting footfalls, but also at the forefront of constant innovation to continue delivering on its promise to ‘Make Delicious Feel-Good Moments Easy For Everyone’.

Wanting to make the brand more inclusive, the objectives for the campaign were to:

  1. Shatter the deep-seated apathy towards people with disabilities, resulting in higher awareness and better reach for the cause, along with high engagement across media channels.
  2. Deepen affinity for the brand, reflecting higher scores across several brand affinity and trust scores.
  3. Make the brand more accessible for the disabled, measured by ‘Brand for someone like me’ scores.
  4.  Increased sales for the McDonald’s burgers, attributed specifically to the disabled community.

Also Read: Spikes Asia Case Study: How The Family Man Season 2 marketing campaign leveraged brand heads as influencers

McDonald’s #EatQual Spikes Asia Case Study – Brief

COVID-19 shocked every section of the country and every industry, getting people to challenge the status quo, to introspect and change decades-old behaviours and practices. At a time when brand businesses were hit hard, it became crucial to connect with the consumer on a deeper and personal level, to not only find ways to endear the brand to the consumer at large but to do so on the back of utmost integrity and effort from brands.

When everyone was apprehensive about stepping out, the brand had to reassure the consumer of the highest safety standards. Additionally, it was crucial to ensure that every consumer felt welcome at McDonald’s.

How can McDonald’s bring alive the feel-good experience for every consumer, irrespective of who they are or where they come from? How can McDonald’s make everyone say ‘I’m lovin’ it’?

Creative Idea

In pop culture and even everyday life, the two-hand hold of burgers became an iconic code largely through advertising. However, eating a burger doesn’t look like it does in the commercials for everyone. Burgers tend to be messy – sauce dripping down the side, lettuce hanging loose and a patty, unless held firmly, prone to escaping out of its bun encasement. This unwittingly excluded the disabled community, which is about 2% of India’s population, close to 27 million people.

There have been a few ramps, railings and washrooms for those who need them, but does access necessarily make up for the glaring lack of experience? The brand wanted to do something to make sure they deliver on both halves of the global promise ‘Make Delicious Feel-Good Moments Easy For Everyone’.

The brand invited people with limited upper limb mobility to collaborate on the packaging solution. They all expressed frustration at the lack of a proper mechanism to lock in all the ingredients. Instead of being able to focus on the taste, they had to worry about the ingredients falling out or looking clumsy to other patrons at the restaurant. Many of the participants even confessed to not having eaten out in public in years due to the stares and looks of pity they usually get in restaurants.

Challenges

EatQual was attempting to change a packaging design that hadn’t changed in any market around the world in decades. Further, the launch of the EatQual packaging was sandwiched between the unexpected lockdowns of the first wave, some of the longest national lockdowns in the world, and the execrable second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought the nation’s medical infrastructure and confidence on its knees.

At such a time, the EatQual campaign was negatively impacted as people’s confidence in outside food was once again under the scanner, as they began isolating themselves again.

McDonald’s #EatQual Spikes Asia Case Study – Execution  

McDonald’s partnered with NASEOH (National Society For Equal Opportunities For the Handicapped) India for inputs on creating something that would make the burger-eating experience for the differently-abled better. A month later, the prototype solutions were introduced to the same group.

The difference was monumental. Not only were the participants able to enjoy the burger without fussing over the ingredients, but they also said that for the first time they could actually focus on the taste and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

With NASEOH’s blessing, on the 3rd of December, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, EatQual was launched via press release and a social media post. An in-store event was organized where children with disabilities from NGOs were invited to enjoy our burgers in the new packaging. The event was endorsed across social media platforms.

A video showcasing the experience of a disabled girl, who had lost her hand in an electrocution accident, enjoying the burger in the new EatQual packaging was captured and communicated via traditional media outlets.

It was also seeded across content publishers – regional as well as pan-India, many of whom picked it up organically.

On social media, the brand collaborated with influencers from the disabled community like Deepa Malik (a Paralympic silver medalist athlete), Suyash Jadhav (Indian Paralympic swimmer), and Dhaval Khatri (a disabled painter), to bring credibility to the packaging.

The initiative was further amplified through above-the-line advertising like print ads, in-store merchandising and engagement activities through partnering with NGOs and schools for the disabled in key cities across the nation.

McDonald’s is now in the process of opening up the design to competition players in the fast-food industry so that even when patrons choose other brands as well, they can still enjoy the same inclusive packaging.

The brand further evolved EatQual into a platform where they try to eliminate inequality at all stages of the brand’s mission to serve the best burgers in India – be it in the supply chain or with the customer in-store.

Results

  • Impressions: 13.4 million
  • Reach: 11.1 million
  • Garnered 300k+ organic views in just 10 days
  • Most shared video of the year across fast food retail brands on Facebook
  • Earned PR worth ₹7.2mn with just a meagre ₹200k spent on marketing
  • Overall giving us a 35x return on investment

The campaign saw an increase in brand trust and imagery scores across the board. While all campaigns of a fast food retail brand require trust and advocacy legs to be integrated into the core messaging, the EatQual campaign was able to break through the clutter to generate groundbreaking results for the brand, exceeding targets.

  • Future Intent for the brand saw a rise of 33% to achieve a one-year high in March 2021
  • Trials for the brand jumped by 9%
  • Penetration for McDonald’s reached an all-time high, seeing a rise of 38% between November 2020 and March 2021
  • The campaign saw an increase in Brand Interest by 67%, well-exceeding targets
  • Spontaneous Awareness of the brand rose by 36%
  • Scores for Favourite Brand moved up by 40% between the period December 2020 to March 2021
  • Brand Trust scores moved 33% higher, peaking to an all-time high in March 2021
  • Scores for ‘Brand for someone like me’ jumped from 20% to a 2-year high, signalling acceptance from not only the disabled community but all consumers who thoughts of McDonald’s as a brand that was inclusive and changing with the times
  • Overall opinion of the brand moved up, equalling pre-Covid figures from early 2020

Sales for the new packaging

  • Nearly 2.5x growth in usage for the EatQual packaging between December 2020 and January 2021.
  • This slowly grew to over 7x in the next months.

Awards and Recognition

  • Spikes Asia 2022 – 6 (1 Grand Prix, 1 Gold, 3 Silver, 1 Bronze)
  • Cannes Lion 2021 – 3 Shortlists (2 in Design and 1 in PR)
  • London International Awards 2021 – 2 (1 Silver, 1 Bronze)
  • Effies India 2021 – 4 (1 Gold, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze)
  • ​​Kyoorius Creative Awards 2021 – 4 (3 Blue Elephants, 1 Baby Blue Elephant) ​
  • AdFest INNOVA Lotus 2022 – 5 Shortlist (Results awaited)
  • EMVIES India 2021 – 2 Nominations (Results awaited)
  • McDonald’s Feel-Good Marketing Awards 2021 – Finalist
  • Ranked ‘Heads Up’ on the McDonald’s Creative Scale for the Asia Business Unit Creative Effectiveness Reviews, the highest among all the Asian countries being judged.

Arvind RP, Director – Marketing & Communications, McDonald’s India (West and South) “According to the World Health Organization, around 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability. And yet, the world just isn’t made for them. EatQual stems from this fact. It is an inclusivity platform that we will continue to build. The EatQual packaging marks just the first step in that direction. We aim to launch a host of new, meaningful innovations to make the McDonald’s experience easy for everyone.”

Editor’s Note

Awards & accolades such as Spikes Asia have often played an integral role, in bringing some of the most intriguing and impactful campaigns from around the world, to the front. While as an industry, we have a certain idea of which were some of the most amazing campaigns, there is often a knowledge gap as to how did these campaigns come into existence? What went behind making the campaign? What were the steps taken to execute and eventually distribute it?

Spikes Asia Case Studies is a small attempt by Social Samosa, towards understanding what goes behind making a winning campaign?

First in our series is Stayfree’s It’s Just A Period, which won a Silver at Spikes Asia 2022. We then uncovered The Unfiltered History Tour by Dentsu Webchutney and Vice Media and Netflix’s launch campaign for Red Notice which won a Bronze at Spikes. We also took a look at Swiggy’s Better Half Cook Book and The Krafton Spikes Asia winning campaign case study and Prime Video India’s campaign for The Family Man Season 2.

The final, article in this series is the McDonald’s #EatQual Spikes Asia Case Study which we hope was insightful.

Watch this space as we add the case studies to more campaigns from India that won big at the awards.

-Saloni Surti


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