The Business Challenge
Ever since the ‘Reindeer Ready’ platform launched in 2016, we’ve been helping the nation get in the Christmas spirit, by celebrating the magic of a little Christmas ritual: the act of leaving carrot sticks out for Santa’s reindeers.
In 2020, expectations were already sky-high for our next instalment but, on top of this, we also had the uncertainty of COVID to overcome. With fear and uncertainty gripping the nation, striking the right note was going to be hard.
We had to tread carefully and find a way of connecting with families on an appropriate level.
We knew it had been a hard year for everyone – life had become very serious indeed. Research revealed that our customers had been forced to get more serious than ever, about their health, their finances, and their family responsibilities too.
We wondered if little Christmas rituals, like leaving carrot sticks for the reindeers, could help them escape all this seriousness and reconnect with the child within.
Avoiding explicit reference to the gloomy backdrop of Covid, our creative idea, ‘Inner Child’, instead simply brought to life how our ritual could awaken the child-like wonder of Christmas in anyone.
We launched the campaign right through the line – from teasing with station takeovers and influencer seeding, through to premiering our 90 second film, during the opening night of “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here”.
We even released the soundtrack. Partnering with Becky Hill, our cover of ‘80s classic, ‘Forever Young’, hit Number 1 and, together, we donated 10p of every download to FareShare, supporting families hardest hit by the pandemic.
From there, we extended the magic, with our Instagram, Snaphat and Facebook filter games; Christmas Jumper competition; free audio books, AR experience; activity sheets; and Big Mac baubles made from recycled Happy Meal toys.
First, the campaign got the nation talking. Levels of organic engagement on social were the highest we’d ever seen, 111,000 people visited Reindeer Ready Live in one day, and 130 influencers talked, wept and raved.
The tabloids also gave it the popular vote. ‘The Sun’ even ran with the headline: “Maccies Wins! Viewers ‘disappointed’ with John Lewis Christmas advert and reckon McDonald’s is better’.
And it was clear our comms were working as intended. Ad-tracking benchmarks were smashed, with “enjoyable” hitting 41% (vs 24% norm) and “stirs my emotions” hitting 29% (vs 12% norm).
Finally, and despite the circumstances, the campaign also delivered for the business, with McDonald’s going on to enjoy its all-time highest market share.
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