Here’s a continuation of my report on PMA’s first annual Digital Marketing Summit which was held last week at the Bridgewaters at the South Street Seaport in downtown NYC. After Rob Master, North American Media Director for Unilever, got us started off we then heard from the McDonald’s brand/agency team, Kim Lloyd, Sr. Director of McDonald’s Global Marketing and Julie Channing, Sr. Account Director with AKQA, with a presentation titled "Going Global with a Big Idea".
The big idea was the Lost Ring which I first wrote about here back in April after I attended PMA’s Annual Integrated Marketing Conference where I got to hear Neil Golden, CMO of McDonald’s USA, give us a first look at this innovative program. The ultimate goal of this marketing campaign was to celebrate the spirit of the Olympic Games. McDonald’s gave their agency, AKQA, a very brief, brief which stated this goal as well as it should also tie-in with Beijing as well as build the McDonald’s brand on a global level.
AKQA was focused on engaging young adults, the "Millennials" with
this program. They have been developing other promotions for brands
that are focused on this target audience and by this experience they
know that these "Millennials" are extremely peer-oriented, smart and
opinionated. They also are a group that is highly comfortable
broadcasting their lives on social networks. This type of
self-expression helps to reflect who they are and they define their
status from finding the next big thing.
So by utilizing this target audience profile as their strategic
guideline, AKQA decided that what they developed must be dynamic,
enable self expression, allow for different levels of engagement,
facilitate peer-to-peer interaction and by all means be fun.
They first began working on this program in January of 2007, then
launched it in March of this year and concluded it with the Beijing
closing ceremonies. They initially created some buzz online for this
alternative reality game (ARG) through a viral marketing push that
didn’t have the McDonald’s name
associated with it. They did this by contacting 50 influential bloggers
and sending them intro packages about the program.
Trailers were created that had a cinematic quality which helped to set
the stage for a truly high-quality experience which you can still view
here at TheLostRing.com.
Websites were created in 7 different languages that contained
characters that spoke that language as well as had content that was
unique to that culture.
Both Kim and Julie shared with us results that showed that
McDonald’s more than reached it’s goal. They ended up with 2.6 million
participants from over 100 different countries. The Lost Ring received
9,000 plus mentions on Google alone. 1,500 plus pictures where tagged
on Flickr and another 280 plus videos were posted on YouTube.
They also stated that they can’t really measure the depth of
engagement they had from some of their players who were involved in six
months of playtime. These players invested a great deal of their time
playing the game and engaging with other players. They spent countless
hours visiting museums and archives around the world to research the
artifacts in the game. Many players have made efforts to continue the
bond that they formed with other players and have clearly communicated
that they want to convene for the 2012 Olympic Games.
I spoke to both Kim and Julie briefly after their presentation and told them that I had met Jane McGonigal, who is behind the creation of this game, last year when I attended the Interactive Promotions Summit which I wrote about here.
I told them that I was very surprised when I learned that a brand as
conservative as McDonald’s engaged such an avant-garde team to develop
a global promotion on this scale. Well it appears that the risk that
they took is paying off. We also gave complements to Mary Dillion, McDonald’s Executive Vice President and Global
Chief Marketing Officer, who headed up the Olympic initiative this year which I wrote about here.
Well what’s next for McDonald’s? They wouldn’t comment. I guess we’ll just have to stay tuned.