McDonald’s Communications: Using an Integrated Creative-PR Strategy to Drive Engagement

One of the great things about being on the creative services side of PR is the variety of assignments.

For all the legitimacy and cost effectiveness that comes with earned media, so too comes the need for constant reinvention. And by extension, the need for a large creative services tool chest.

We, of course, thrive on the wide range of clients and needs, but it’s rare that we are able to show off our versatility for a single client the way we have with McDonald’s.

McDonald’s events have always relied heavily on an integrated PR/creative services strategy . Signage, giveaways, wrapped vehicles, food and beverage dispensers, and even customized Plinko boards are the norm. Even a food and activity-driven “Happiness Tour,” supported by a mobile website allowing followers to track events, interact and share posts, feels like the kind of traditional fun you’d expect from McDonald’s.

Creative Services McDonalds
But meeting all strategic objectives sometimes means breaking traditions, or at least redefining them. For example, when our goal was to engage a narrower audience on the topic of ingredients standards and quality, creating a new and unexpected vibe was essential. We put the notion of pure, all-ages fun aside and invited a group of ‘foodie’ influencers to a gourmet, three-course tapas dinner prepared from scratch by a celebrity chef… using only McDonald’s ingredients.

Thanks to some careful planning, the unexpected approach remained entirely on-brand, and we were still able to have our “fun” by acknowledging the public’s perception of fast food.

Creative Services McDonalds Chef
Again shifting gears, our partnership with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern New England reminds us that the organization is not just about food, fun and happiness. It routinely puts us behind the lens of its philanthropic mission to “create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families.”

Creative Services McDonalds Families
In recent years we have created airport banners, outdoor signage and print advertising, but the team’s participation in the Eastern New England Chapter’s 30th Anniversary Gala unexpectedly inspired some of our most passionate work to date. After branding the event, we began seeking additional ways to help raise money and landed on the idea of creating original art for sale. Pushing the idea further, we challenged each team member to explore a personal interpretation of the RMHC mission with a fine art approach.

Creative Services Fine ArtParticipating in such worthwhile causes is always fulfilling. But from the inside, seeing SHIFT embrace this pro-bono opportunity with such intense dedication and resourcefulness made it that much more special.

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