Managing Director
4 min read|2018-03-04

Why McDonald’s Latest Campaign Is Almost a Benchmark For Digital Shopper Marketing - And How to Improve It

In it’s current “Easter Countdown”-Campaign, McDonald’s in Germany is offering huge discounts (like a Big Mac for a single Euro) and unique rewards (Big Mac socks, anyone? No kidding).

I s it just another campaign to drive people to the fast food restaurants? Not quite. Let’s take a closer look: they’re not simply giving away all the benefits.

Customers need to use the new McDonald’s app on their phone in order to profit. And to fully use the app, customers must register a free account with the Burger giant.

More than it seems: McDonald's Easter Campaign
The campaign aims to establish a 1:1 channel to digital shoppers.

That’s a smart move by McDonald’s.

Consumers know very well of the worth of their personal data. Three-quarters of customers are willing to share their data. If they get an additional value in return. In the case of McD, these benefits are rebates, lotteries and soon also a digital loyalty scheme. The app is also nicely animated and gamified to keep the interaction lighthearted and fun.

Permission marketing is the new normal

The new GDPR regulations in Europe require a valid opt-in by the customer for every direct contact. For McDonald’s marketers, the app is the instrument to collects these valuable opt-ins.

It enables them to directly connect with digital shoppers. They can reach them via email and push notifications on their phone. It also by-passes the current hassles of digital marketing . Ad fraud, viewability issues and massive use of ad-blockers, just to name a few.

The new McDonald's App requires a signup by customers
App-based permission marketing

Instead, McDonald’s gets into a direct 1:1 interaction with their customers, thus amassing data to personalize the experience in the future. Personalization is one of the key drivers of a great customer experience and leads to more loyal customers. In the competitive fast-food sector, this gives McDonald’s an edge over competitors that lack a direct access to customers.

How it could be even more successful

McDonald’s new approach seems great. Nonetheless, it misses some opportunities. Here are the top three:

  1. McDonald’s is focusing on an app.

Customers need to download, install and register within the app. This sets quite a high hurdle and lots of customers will refrain from using it. App fatigue is also a growing phenomenon, the fact that users interact only with very few of their apps. Many apps just get used once and are either forgotten or uninstalled.

  1. The benefits are not accessible on their website or Facebook.

McDonald’s focuses on just one channel. They miss the chance to connect with users on their own websites and on Social Media. Giving customers a choice could easily increase the acquisition of users.

  1. They don’t engage in Messenger Marketing.

McDonald’s approach misses one of the fundamental shifts in the history of human interaction. Over past few years, we all have switched from emailing and calling to Messaging. We chat with friends, co-workers, and family all the time. To give just one example, Facebook Messenger is currently used by more than 1.3 billion people each month - and still growing heavily. Thanks to chatbots, brands can also engage in Messaging at scale. The combination of exclusive benefits, Messaging channels and chatbots could lift McDonald’s campaign to a whole new level.


McDonald’s is doing what’s the imperative in the age of permission marketing. They provide exclusive benefits for customers who in exchange share some of their data and are directly accessible. Using an app has some advantages, but is also quite expensive, and app fatigué is a thing. Conversational interfaces could provide a more state-of-the-mind solution for today’s consumers.

Oh, and if you want some of those Big Mac socks, they are all gone, but sell on eBay for around 10-12 Euros.

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