McDonald’s Moving Mobile Series

Chapter 2: Gamification and Augmented Reality

Gamification:  Gaming in the Marketing World

Implementing game-centric design techniques into a marketing campaign is proven to work if incorporated fittingly. Gamification allows brands to deeply engage with its users within an entertaining platform, thus building participation and trust.

McDonald’s recently ran a mobile advertisement for a word scramble game that incorporated dollar menu items. In addition to learning about the dollar menu items while playing, users can also find the nearest McDonald’s location. The ad for the game was promoted on popular iPhone apps.

The ad encouraged users to test their McDonald’s knowledge; “You make smart choices every day. Like thinking before you speak and buying the McDouble. Show off your smarts at McDonald’s.” After unscrambling a word, users can share their score on Facebook, which facilitate spreading the word about the McDouble promotion. Users can also browse the dollar menu to see all of the different items with a picture and description.

What worked about this game? McDonald’s challenged people by asking them to test their knowledge. Not only were people playing the game, they were also learning about products. By capturing people’s attention with this amusing game, consumers were inadvertently thinking about the products. When the consumer than goes to think about grabbing a bite to eat, McDonald’s is in front of their brain.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality adds computerized graphics and sounds to the natural world as it exists. It matches what you are actually viewing in the real world with a virtual, computer generated scene, adding extra information to what your eyes actually see. It has been around for a while but recently it is being used to give consumers an inimitable and personal experience.

Last year McDonald’s launched an augmented reality campaign that aimed to increase Happy Meal sales by engaging consumers via a Smurfs promotion. McDonald’s created a mobile Smurf game that, when inside a McDonald’s location, came to life. Smurf avatars decorated the restaurant and unlocked additional Smurf fun for consumers.

Kids were able to turn themselves into Smurfs and take part in the game to help garden with Papa Smurf. Kids learned what plants need to grow and practiced this knowledge by taking care of the digital plants on the screen.

Why did this work? In-store signage brought the individuals’ game to life. That is pretty incredible. Kids were able to ‘Smurf-ize’ themselves and see themselves on screen. The whole Smurfs campaign, from the mobile game, to signage, to the Smurf Happy Meal toys were flawlessly integrated therefore creating growth and higher sales of Happy Meals.

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