McDonald's: McDonald’s Thailand, TikTok, and Some Impressive Business Results


Campaign Summary

McDonald's Thailand was hit with a huge case of FOMO when it saw McDonald's customers in Indonesia participating in a fun TikTok trend. Rather than becoming jealous, however, the Thailand-based branch of the popular burger brand decided it could have its own fun, launching a new, updated version of the TikTok challenge for its customers — complete with a new product rollout that helped drive revenue.



In a world driven by consumer trends, brands cannot be culturally ignorant or risk becoming culturally irrelevant. McDonald's has always been ready to act when the opportunity to jump on a trend arises — creating real, authentic community interaction between brand and consumer. Doing so helps to increase brand visibility, ultimately driving sales with immediacy and brand love over time. Promoting this type of interaction was the goal for the McDonald's activation in Thailand.

Target Audience:

McDonald's wanted to target generation Z by leveraging social media, a cultural funnel for today's youth. Winning the battle for their attention was undeniably the key to winning the segment's share of mind.

Creative Strategy:

Indonesians found a hack to enjoy McDonald's soft serve ice cream, shared it on TikTok, and, before long, the trend grew into a full-fledged viral challenge that caught the whole country by storm. This caught the attention of McDonald's Thailand, which saw the trend as an invitation for Thais to join in on the fun, and even found a way to level up the trend — Thai-style.


The trend originated in Indonesia when two McDonald's customers brought a large bowl to the restaurant, ordered multiple soft-serve ice creams, and started smashing them into the bowl, creating a sweet, ingenious mash-up. Soon, the practice began to catch on, leading to countless videos being uploaded to TikTok.


Overall Campaign Execution:

To bring the campaign to life, McDonald's Thailand knew it would have to leverage TikTok in an engaging and authentic way. Rather than rely on creating its own content, however, the brand promoted the trend by amplifying user-generated content using Spark Ads — a native ad format that enables advertisers to leverage organic TikTok posts to feature in their campaigns. This unique ad format allows advertisers to publish ads using their own TikTok account's posts, as well as by using organic posts made by other creators, with their consent.

Beyond TikTok, McDonald's pushed the soft serve mash-up challenge on other digital platforms, turning it into a force of culture. Then came an entirely new menu item — a specialized ice cream cone perfect for being smashed into a bowl — inspired by and in celebration of the community-created mega dessert, complete with ads promoting the latest craze on none other than TikTok. To top it off, for customers new to the trend who wished to join in, McDonald's provided bowls with every in-store purchase of the new menu item.

Business Impact (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

Before this campaign, McDonald's Thailand was unable to monetize social media, as the brand found it difficult to turn engagement into sales. However, with this first instance of the brand using native-format ads on TikTok, while also incorporating an offline component, McDonald's saw sales for soft serve ice cream increase by 130 percent, along with an 83 percent increase in guest counts compared to the month before, selling out soft-serve ice cream cones in stores across Thailand.

The campaign, founded on community collaboration, allowed McDonald's to make meaningful and impact-driving connections with consumers. The unprecedented success also demonstrated how marketing team at McDonald's could adapt its TikTok strategy to continue including native-format ads.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Real Time Marketing | Awards: X Global Gold Winner