Celebrating McDelivery Day: A Throwback of Epic Proportions

The Evolution of QSR — Now It’s On Wheels! 

Technology has conditioned consumers to expect instant gratification and convenience — nowhere is that more evident than food delivery and its impact on the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry. According to UBS Financial Services, the online food delivery market will grow tenfold by 2030 to almost $365 billion, representing the highest growth opportunity for QSR. It’s no wonder top QSR companies are jumping into the delivery movement with services like Uber Eats, DoorDash and Postmates.

This raises the stakes for a company like McDonald’s, with a massive global footprint of over 36,000 restaurants, to evolve from a brick-and-mortar QSR to a tech-forward food delivery business. Enter McDelivery. 

In 2017, McDonald’s took a powerful step forward by partnering with Uber Eats and rolling out its first-ever Global McDelivery Day. This promotion leaned on high-powered celebrity endorsements, local activations and free limited-edition swag to drive consumer awareness and trial of McDelivery.  

In 2018, McDonald’s delivered a loftier challenge — go bigger, with higher restaurant participation and stronger business impact for the program. But there was a twist. We were tasked to do this with a more streamlined budget and without the novelty of a first-year program or flashy celebrity partnerships.  

To deliver on this challenge, we needed to convince McDonald’s Owner/Operators that participating in the promotion would have significant sales impact for their businesses, as well as educate consumers about the McDelivery service.  

Taking all of this into account, our campaign had two objectives:  

  1. Increase awareness for McDelivery. 
  2. Drive business impact, specifically increase McDelivery orders and guest counts. 

Consumers Crave Nostalgia — and Fries  

McDonald’s consumer research and our own social listening honed our understanding of the prevailing consumer attitude: McDelivery is a craveable, delicious treat when you need or want to stay in the moment.  

We also researched the barriers and opportunities for consumers when considering McDelivery via Uber Eats. Here’s what we learned:  

  • The high delivery fee discouraged trial and usage for McDelivery.
  • Delivery discussion on social spiked on Thursday nights, when consumers hit the late week slump and wanted a convenient dinner.
  • A fervor for ‘90s nostalgia was influencing everything from fashion to TV to film, especially with our delivery target audience.  

These insights informed our phased approach to launch Global McDelivery Day with a specific focus on making the moments you need or want to stay in more fun — with an order of McDonald’s delivered right to your door.  

Creating a Craveable Global Moment 

Based on our insights, we needed to create an incentive for consumers to try McDelivery — enter the Throwback Collection, free ‘90s-inspired merchandise available exclusively to customers that ordered McDelivery in participating restaurants on Thursday, July 19. These sought-after collection items gave us a way to drive trial and surprise and delight customers during one unified global moment. 

Here was our strategy for Global McDelivery Day: 

  • Remind consumers that McDonald’s delivers and McDelivery exists.  
  • Show the convenience and ease of use of McDelivery via Uber Eats. 
  • Reward and celebrate purchases to drive demand, coverage and conversation.  
  • Create a global moment for McDelivery in existing and mature delivery markets.

The Throwback Collection Warms Deliveries — and Hearts  

Global McDelivery Day was activated in McDonald’s restaurants around the world. Here's how we brought it to life:  

  • Leverage the Throwback Collection to drive buzz and McDelivery orders: We tapped into McDonald’s brand fans by delivering our nostalgic Throwback Collection in giant Big Mac boxes to media, celebrities and paid and earned influencers. These surprise and delight deliveries drove organic content from culture-defining celebrities and trendsetters, reaching consumers around the globe and making it impossible to not order McDelivery. 
  • Focus on unique items efficiently distributed via app opt-in and Uber Eats couriers: In 2018, our goal was to go bigger, with as many restaurants as possible. To secure Owner/Operator participation, we designed Collection items that were easier to distribute on a larger scale, while still driving demand. This made it easier for Uber Eats couriers to deliver Collection items, and reassured Owner/Operators that rallying together on Global McDelivery Day presented a worthwhile ROI.  
  • Lean into the food and fun factor to drive social buzz: Because we know that McDelivery is a craveable treat for those moments when you can’t or don’t want to get away, we decided to bring some joy to our media influencers to drive buzz. On Global McDelivery Day, we surprised targeted influencers, including Hearst Media, Instagram and Cheddar TV, with a McDelivery lunch — transforming their sad office desk lunches into fun, buzzworthy moments that resulted in organic social buzz. 
  • Create a global moment through local activations: The Throwback Collection was used as a unifying customer incentive, and global markets were able to customize activations based on their markets. For example, McDonald’s Canada conducted product drops to radio and broadcast stations across the country. The local New York team engaged Mets players Brandon Nimmo and Michael Confort to greet families at the Ronald McDonald House with pieces from the Throwback Collection. In Colombia, McDonald's surprised 105 journalists with McDelivery and Collection items in five different cities. These were just a few of the many activations that drove a unified global moment.  

McDelivery Mic Drop  

Global McDelivery Day 2018 was a hit! We achieved our campaign objectives of increasing awareness and boosting delivery sales. We measured this in three ways: 1) YOY analysis of consumer awareness 2) breakthrough among trend-setting consumer influencers and 3) an increase in markets and Owner/Operator participation and their resulting delivery sales.  

Increasing Awareness 

  • We secured more than 175 ?global media placements, carrying?100% favorable tone.  
  • Global McDelivery Day social conversations reached billions with a 95% favorable sentiment. 
  • Despite using 75% fewer influencers than in 2017, our influencer agency partner, The Narrative Group, generated a 30% YOY increase in total potential impressions across a wide range of verticals and audiences.  
  • Social posts from engaged paid influencers drove thousands of clicks to the McDelivery Microsite, activating consumers to find a participating restaurant and place their order. Seeding top-tier brand fans resulted in unpaid posts from various celebrities. 

Boosting Sales 

  • We generated a significant global lift, producing — at the time — the Thursday with the most orders for McDelivery on record.

By tying food, fun and nostalgia together, WE was able to create a global movement that rocketed McDonald’s delivery service into the hearts and minds — and stomachs — of consumers.