Pan Regional Latin America (Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia)
McDonald’s sought to add value to its Happy Meal program by promoting the importance of creativity and imagination in children. To ensure success, creative teams based in Paris, client teams based in Argentina and Brazil, and the media agency and content partner based in Miami would have to perfectly align.
Founded on the belief that books and toys help foster creativity and imagination in kids, McDonald’s began offering both as choices in Happy Meals throughout Latin America. This belief tapped into a crucial consumer insight that parents want to help develop their kids’ imaginations, but often don’t know how to do so or where to start. McDonald’s launched the Book or Toy campaign as a response to that need, realizing that it had the ability to scale this powerful message and empower parents to cultivate these important traits in their children. The brand teams based in Argentina conducted an experiment where kids were interviewed by a team of psychologists and illustrators, and asked to dream up a character of their choice. Those characters were then brought to life, and the kids had a chance to come face to face with the character they imagined.
The challenge was to collaborate effectively across four different countries in three continents in order to adapt, tailor and transform the results of the social experiment that took place in Latin America into one cohesive campaign. The end goal was to launch a successful and engaging content based campaign that communicated the message McDonald’s sought to communicate, while staying true to the creative vision developed by the TBWA creative team in Paris, and translating that into a story that aligned with the values of the Discovery Kids brand and that OMD made sure would resonate with its audience.
By offering books and toys in their Happy Meals, McDonald’s sought to empower parents to help foster creativity and imagination in their kids. Based on a creative strategy designed by TBWA in Paris, and guided by a team of child psychologists, the brand conducted a unique social experiment with children throughout Latin America in which the kids were asked to read and play and then given a series of cues to see what their imaginations would dream up. Based on their research, the psychologists found that books and toys are complementary and help in growing kids’ imagination when used together. Realizing they had a shared interest in fostering creativity, imagination and overall wellbeing among children, McDonald’s brand teams in Argentina and Brazil set out to share these findings with parents throughout the region.
A rich content strategy was developed through which the brand shared the results of their findings with parents in multiple platforms. Sharing this information proved to be a powerful engagement tool, through which parents were able to take part in the conversation and share tips with each other on the subject using the hashtag #readandplay. As the Miami-based media agency (OMD) we coordinated a strategy to invade all media outlets. The hashtag was massively communicated via content on TV, and digital and social platforms like YouTube and Facebook served as alternate windows for parents to consume content about the social experiment, psychologist testimonials, behind the scenes outtakes and supporting content posted by top social media influencers.
As part of a later phase, and in collaboration with both OMD and TBWA, McDonald’s worked with Discovery Kids, the premiere TV network for kids in Latin America, to develop an original micro series inspired by the characters that the children dreamed up as part of the social experiment.
McDonald’s invited kids from all over Latin America to play and read in a fun, engaging environment full of toys and books. Three children were selected for the experiment – an Argentinian girl, a Mexican boy and a Brazilian boy – each one representing a key market for McDonald’s. With the help of a psychologist, the kids were asked to describe an imaginary character of their choice. And then the magic happened. The kids did not describe normative characters like a princess, a pirate, or a superhero, but rather one-of-a kind creatures inspired by the games and the books they had in their hands in the playground.
Without the kids knowing, an illustrator drew each character and those drawings were used to bring the characters to life. A team of professional costume model makers developed life size versions of each character. Once they were complete, an individual encounter between each kid and his/her character was organized. It was a total surprise for the kids, who came face to face with the fruit of their own imagination.
Content was created from every step in this process and distributed through various media outlets and digital platforms. To round out the story, McDonald’s partnered with Discovery Kids to
develop a full media ecosystem to engage with parents and kids. A three-part micro series titled Los Papelnautas (The Paperbots) was produced to air on the network throughout Latin America as well as on its digital content platforms like its YouTube Channel and DKids Play portal.