Earlier this fast-food brand McDonald’s gave consumers the opportunity, through their phones, to participate in a huge outdoor “Angry Birds” game.
To create excitement about their new “Angry Birds” menu offer, McDonald’s wanted to get Chinese consumers away from their phones. But in a nation that is mobile-obsessed, the best way to get people to focus beyond their phones, is to engage them … through their phones.
On a huge screen in Shanghai’s Pacific Square, passers-by could scan a Q-code with their phones that then gave them access to Angry Birds, that they could use as ‘cute bombs’ to blow-up enemy green pigs on the big screen. So playing the game on their phones, but seeing the damage in a huge public screen.
From the carnage that ensued, McDonald’s captured the content, and created a video that went viral online. Locals enjoyed the more social dimension of the campaign, as their gaming (usually private) could be shared with others, and even allowed players to strategically work together to kill more green pigs.
To capture the success, the original idea was then captured in an HTML5 game that fans could play individually on their phones. In this version, gamers have to move their phone to find green pigs, that are hidden behind McDonald’s stores. If successful in finding and eliminating the green pigs, consumers could receive coupons for savings on their McDonalds meal.
In what appears to be a game of ‘catch-up’ with key competitor KFC – which recently launched a co-brand with QQ, a social network related to gaming – McDonald’s has already created a Angry Bird-themed restaurant in Guangzhou. However it feels that Angry Birds are a little too narrow to build a wider brand platform from, as the potential spin-offs are limited for birds, who are necessarily angry, and pigs, that are necessarily green.
KFC collaboration with QQ seems to offer more scope to engage new consumers in long-term. While the content is interesting, we are not convinced of the consumer shelf-life of the McDonald’s/Angry Birds brand duo.