McDonald's is already an intriguing brand story when it comes to the FIFA World Cup, a three-week event that started yesterday. Below are three reasons why.
1. Sneaky stockings
According to Adweek sources, McDonald's was not sanctioned by FIFA officials to dress up the children—seen in the tweet below—in Ronald McDonald's signature red-and-white-striped socks before yesterday's Brazil-Croatia match. The stockings were a wink and a nod, per sources, to the Ronald McDonald House Charity's 50th anniversary.
The brand was "trying to be under the radar so it wouldn't get smacked by FIFA," a person close to the situation said.
When it comes to massive sporting events like the World Cup or Super Bowl, marketers are required to abide by the promotional rules down to the proverbial letter. So it's hard not to love a little guerilla marketing on such a big stage—especially when it's for a good cause.
— McDonald's (@McDonaldsCorp) June 13, 2014
2. Social ads history
Micky D's made waves among marketing circles yesterday when it bought the first global Promoted Trend on Twitter to promote its Gol mobile app in 57 countries. How much the fast-food chain paid for 24-hour ad slot has not been revealed, though it's probably safe to guess it costs in the neighborhood of $1 million to $2 million. The ad normally costs $200,000 for regular, hum-drum days in the U.S. alone.
3. Questionable results
But the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company didn't generate a ton of buzz for its major bucks. According to stats from Simply Measured, the Promoted Trend drew only 9,892 total engagements (retweets, replies, favorites and @mentions). The prior six days produced an average of 7,300 engagements for the Golden Arches, Simply Measured reported.
It's very possible McDonald's had ramped up its Promoted Tweets during those other days, but it still appears that the brand paid a lot of money for a little extra engagement. Update: McDonald's contends that Simply Measured's numbers don't represent the global reach the ad garnered, stating the analytics company's stats only considered the brand's regular @McDonalds handle—but not @McDonalds_BR (Brazil), @McDonalds_Ar (Argentina), etc. for other nations. At any rate, the brand still may want to take its copywriting team to task for not reeling in more consumer interactions.
Lastly, as an aside, Adweek has heard rumors that McDonald's bought out all of ESPN's World Cup TV inventory for the fast-food category. When it comes to the global fútbol extravaganza, the brand is clearly not messing around.