Couponing is at the heart of McDonald’s business proposition, offering value for money. However, competition copycat and Coupons became a commodity, diminished redemption made it hard to justify the spending. To save this crucial business driver from slow death we had to cut through the clutter in the couponing jungle.
McDonald’s physical Coupons have been distributed at least twice a year since forever, and digital Coupons were added in from the beginning of this decade moving forward, with heavier spending levels involved. However, competition fiercely copycat and Coupons became available anytime, anywhere, for almost anything. A “taken-for-granted” commodity. Some brands even have a permanently available Couponing platform. Vulgar.
And receiving a coupon is passive and always follows the same boring concept which stands in glaring contrast to people’s active and social lifestyles. Thus, if coupons simply offer a rationale (a discount), they are likely to not get recognized. If in turn they address a more emotional and contextualized matter, they can win back their relevance.
Especially on eating out, which is such a social activity and works as social facilitator among a group of friends or family. To connect the coupons more to this social event and to stand out from the dull concept of passively receiving a coupon we simply needed to turn the passive act into something more active, social and fun.
So at the end it all comes up to Active vs Passive, Relevancy vs Commodity, and Emotional vs Rational.
Baseline 1: active consumers and social media. Consumers are sharers. They write what they think and they share. They seek for relevancy and they share. They photograph and they share. And every time they do share, they’re actually distributing messages. Communication.
Baseline 2: relevant offers. To stand out from vulgar rational every day offers, our Coupons would have to present themselves as life savers. Facilitators. Enablers of relationships or easy solutions for specific demand. Daypart demand. Hunger demand. Craving demand. Impossible not to have, impossible not to share. Boosting individual needs.
So we decided to go 100% digital for the first time, and we came up with this new approach taking advantage of people and their active role inside their network, placing our Coupons as interesting shareable content as gifts for friends or a great solution to engage conversation.
Photograph. Save. Share. Consumers would become our Postmen of a New Era.
We created a dynamic set of Coupons fitting to the occasion for going to McDonald’s with friends, colleagues or family. Being it breakfast, lunch or a date, the coupons always matched to time of the day with a fitting meal and a discount for a second person. And then we started a conversation around them - well actually we started a lot.
We distributed the coupons strictly on digital media channels using ads on Social Media and drawing future coupon redeemers to the McDonald's Chat Bot. Starting a dialogue and following a set of questions, the Bot issued the ideal coupon for each individual occasion: 2 Sundae Ice Creams for a lovely date in the sun? 2 McMenus for lunch with a buddy? A combo of a McMenu and a Happy Meal for a family visit at McDonald's? Yummie breakfast for you who woke up starving? The bot always got it right.
Simultaneously, we focused our communication effort on Social as we had to make sure Coupons were really easy to save and share, self-explanatory and mobile first. We developed a Coupon gallery on Instagram and bet on variety enabling formats such as the Carousel and the Canvas on Facebook, not only showing different appealing solutions but also allowing immediate download and sharing. However – and here’s the beauty – you just had to take a screenshot to be able to use it.