The Big Mac ATM: A Case Study on Going Viral

event activation

Recently, we executed an event activation with our client McDonald’s of Eastern New England to celebrate two new sizes of the Big Mac. We took a vending machine and placed free, fresh Big Macs inside – and it essentially went viral. While the idea was ballsy, it was actually quite simple in theory. What made it a true success was the combination of paid, earned and owned media efforts working together. Here’s how it came to life.

The Challenge: There is an entire generation of consumers who have never tasted the iconic McDonald’s Big Mac (Crazy, right? It’s true). To attract new millennial consumers and engage lapsed consumers, McDonald’s shook up their Big Mac product line to include the Mac Jr. and Grand Mac offerings, giving customers more choices. So, how do we promote these new products to the right audiences?

The Strategy: Execute an integrated campaign utilizing event, paid, earned and owned techniques.

The Tactics:

– Host a customized digital Big Mac ATM event in the local Kenmore Square McDonald’s restaurant to distribute free samples of the Macs
– Generate earned, traditional media coverage to create general awareness of the Big Mac ATM event and the new sandwiches
– Ignite conversation in the online world via owned social media channels
– Amplify social content via paid promoted tweets and Instagram posts

event activation

Our team wanted the Big Mac ATM event to be something consumers sought out and planned for, versus a guerilla pop-up. This would create more attention and drive pre- and post-coverage of the event.

The week ahead of the event, we secured regional and national online, print and broadcast coverage of the ATM. We launched paid Twitter and Instagram ad campaigns, targeting potential attendees based on location, demonstrated interest in competitors, and local colleges and universities. This complemented our owned efforts, where we leveraged the national #BigMacForThat hashtag and created the #BigMacATM hashtag to tie all relevant Big Mac ATM event content together.

On event day, SHIFT sought to secure on-site media attendance, allowing reporters to try the Big Mac ATM firsthand and interview attendees, which resulted in more robust coverage.

The response was massive.

The Results

  • Drove approximately 500 Big Mac ATM visits, with a consistent line of 100+ customers wrapped around the block throughout the entire event
  • Secured hundreds of placements, generating 960M media impressions, including every local Boston outlet, as well as many national publications (Fortune, GMA, US Weekly, Travel + Leisure, CNN)
  • USA Today: “This is the best ATM I’ve ever been to. This is the biggest Mac of all – and it’s so good! It’s warm, delicious and not soggy – and giant. I’m going to eat the whole thing!”
  • Big Mac ATM trended on Facebook for 48+ hours
  • 88% of coverage was on-brand and included positive messaging
  • #BigMacForThat hashtag generated 141 million impressions; #BigMacATM hashtag generated 476,399 impressions

What’s your most recent integrated all-star campaign? Tell us! We’re working on our next one…

Megan Gaffney
Senior Account Manager

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Posted on April 12, 2017 in Events

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