McDonald’s Australia: McDonald’s Monopoly App

Campaign Summary

Since 1987, the annual Monopoly game has been the most effective promotion which McDonald's uses. Young people, however, believed the odds of the game were stacked against them. To restore people's faith, McDonald's transformed its signature promotion into an immersive gaming experience, creating new ways to play.


Objective and Context:

In recent years, two key problems had emerged regarding the Monopoly promotion:

  1. The creation of the paper tickets that made the promotion so successful was resulting in a massive printing and distribution cost.
  2. Customers had begun losing interest in the promotion since they believed that they wouldn’t win.

While digitalizing the promotion was the obvious answer, the challenge for McDonald’s was figuring out a way to transition from print to digital without losing the excitement that the physical tickets provided customers.

Target Audience:

McDonald’s had two key audiences for the six-week Monopoly promotion:

  1. McDonald’s loyalists ages 16 to 35, with a skew toward men. This group plays the promotion year in and year out, but they typically drop off after the second week.
  2. Switchers, ages 16 to 35, with a slight skew toward women. They’re usually indifferent to fast-moving consumer goods brands with minimal loyalty and tend to switch brands for the best value, deal, or promotion.

While both audiences had high relevance, Switchers represented the biggest opportunity for growth for McDonald’s in terms of higher guest count and CRM acquisition.

Creative Strategy:

After 30 years of seeing the same promotion, the general sentiment among consumers was that winning anything beyond low-value prizes was nearly impossible. Therefore, the brand’s communication strategy focused on addressing this issue of believability, emphasizing the one-in-five chance to win and showcasing the sheer volume of prizes to be won within the app.


Overall Campaign Execution:

While the creative was identical to previous years in terms of media planning and creative execution, this was the first year in which a digital version of the Monopoly promotion ran anywhere in the world. McDonald’s deployed a phased approach, building anticipation and then driving home the message of “1 in 5 Wins Instantly.” The phasing was applied across multiple channels and formats, including YouTube bumper ads, YouTube Trueview, paid search, Twitter, mobile display ads, and digital out-of-home.

McDonald’s first focused on showcasing the prizes that could be won through the app. Then it re-targeted its audiences with proof of people winning in their area. As fatigue began to take effect in the middle of the promotion, McDonald’s deployed a re-engagement strategy to draw users back in to the app, offering additional games that could be played to drive guest count in restaurants. Toward the end of the campaign, to spike sales, it targeted messaging around the number of prizes that were still available to be won, driving a sharp rise in app usage in the final weeks of the campaign.

Mobile Execution:

The mobile app refreshed the way people played the game. Upon scanning or entering a Chance Card code in the app, a mini-game would be selected randomly. McDonald’s also introduced a virtual game board that made tracking progress easier and eliminated the need to retain the paper tickets. It also increased the visibility of the prizes on offer as well as who was winning what nearby.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

The promotion exceeded every objective and goal, and was the first step toward a fully digital promotion rollout over the next four years.

  • There were over 2.5 million downloads across Australia and New Zealand, with more than four times the original target number of downloads.
  • Market share of spend and traffic were the highest they’ve ever been, with McDonald’s garnering 12.1 percent of informal eating occasion spend and 14.4 percent of informal eating occasion traffic.
  • The app was the most downloaded free app in the iOS App Store during the promotion period.
  • 36.7 million tickets were registered during the promotion, which was three times more than the previous highest year.
  • Half of all players were still using the app two weeks after downloading, and over a third of them were still using it six weeks later.
  • The size of the McDonald’s CRM database doubled during the six-week period.

Categories: Mobile App | Industries: Food & Beverages, Restaurants & Fast Food | Objectives: Mobile App | Awards: Gold Winner