McDonald’s: Snaplications

Campaign Summary

McDonald’s is Australia’s biggest employer of young people. To find the next generation of crew members, the fast food brand turned Snapchat into an innovative recruitment channel.


Objective and Context:

McDonald’s was falling out of favor with a newer, younger, more connected audience, and it was struggling to attract enough talent for the vast number of positions it had across the country. The brand had two clear objectives to fix this:

  • Increase the number of employee applications.
  • Change the perceptions young people had about working at McDonald’s.

Target Audience:

The target audience was young people, namely students, between the ages of 16 and 26. This group has grown up in a generation of instant gratification. While they’re eager to work, they have minimal to no experience. They’ve also faced obstacles when seeking employment, often being turned away for not having mandatory experience for entry-level positions, leading to the perception that the way companies hire is fundamentally flawed.

Creative Strategy:

McDonald’s is viewed in Australia as an entry point into the workforce, providing valuable training and work experience to develop the skills needed in future careers. This means applicants generally have no prior work experience, so submitting a traditional résumé was irrelevant given that all they had to sell themselves was their personality. McDonald’s created Snaplications, an instant job application that could be done through Snapchat in 10 seconds or less. Using a Snapchat lens, McDonald’s enabled its target audience to see themselves as a member of the McDonald’s crew and submit an application that was solely based on personality.


Overall Campaign Execution:

The execution tapped into a deeply engrained audience behavior, creating a low barrier to entry. No longer was applying for a job an arduous task, but something that was a “snap” to do. The simplicity of the execution paired with an innovative new use for a popular social channel fit perfectly with the audience, creating interest and appeal.

Mobile Execution:

The campaign budget was almost exclusively mobile, with the exception of highly targeted digital out-of-home placements. Snapchat was the perfect channel to reach the audience since they had already gravitated to the platform, eschewing more public social networks like Facebook in favor of more direct one-to-one communication. Given Snapchat’s skew toward a younger audience, minimal targeting was required. McDonald’s leveraged Snapcodes and highly targeted media placements to allow its audience to trigger a Snaplication and apply instantly. Supporting the Snapchat ads, consumers could also trigger a Snaplication by simply scanning the Snapcode with the Snapchat app on digital out-of-home and restaurant collateral. The whole process was finished in 10 seconds or less — perfect for people with notoriously short attention spans.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

Snaplications was a world first in terms of recruitment strategy, as well as a world first for Snapchat as a channel. It received global media coverage across Australia, the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Canada, and Spain. The campaign exceeded all possible expectations and benchmarks:

  • An estimated reach of 304 million people in three days
  • The custom lens exceeded Snapchat’s benchmarks by more than 200 percent
  • 1.5 years’ worth of playtime with the Snapchat lens in 24 hours
  • The highest brand sentiment score for McDonald’s in five years

In the first 24 hours, McDonald’s received nearly 3,000 Snaplications, which was four times higher than traditional methods had gathered in a whole week. Within the first two days, the fast food brand hired its first crew member — and many more followed in the weeks after, with 15 percent of applicants proceeding into the final stages of recruitment.

Since the campaign first ran, it has become a permanent recruitment tool across Australia, and the U.S. was quick to adopt the approach, running a national campaign to over 100 million people. Other markets are now also in the process of adopting Snaplications as a viable recruitment tool for one of the world’s largest employers of youth.

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