McDonald's Digital World Cup Push Includes Augmented Reality | Adweek McDonald's Digital World Cup Push Includes Augmented Reality | Adweek
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McDonald's Overhauls Packaging for World Cup Digital Push

Also moves from QR codes to augmented reality

McDonald's is revamping its fry packaging on a global scale for the first time as part of a large-scale marketing push for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup. And interestingly, the boxes have a big digital component as the brand wants to appeal to more millennials. 

The new packaging will wrap medium and large orders of fries in soccer-themed designs while syncing with an iPhone and Android app called Gol, which unlocks exclusive content—like lining up a shot at the goal against virtual players from the 32 countries that are planned to compete.

Augmented reality technology built into the app lets diners match up the back of the fry boxes with a smartphone's built-in camera feature that triggers an interactive overlay to jump off of the packaging. 

Flicking a finger across the screen gives players the chance to shoot a virtual soccer ball into a net.

Traditionally, getting consumers to participate in these kinds of campaigns that involve multiple steps has been challenging for brands, but McDonald's is hoping to tackle those issues by printing step-by-step directions on the backside of the packaging.

The augmented reality activation builds on initiatives that McDonald's rolled out last year that plastered QR codes on bags and cups. 

The brand's Gol iPhone and Android app will be available on May 26, and a McDonald's rep confirmed to Adweek that the initiative will be supported by a media campaign including a microsite, point-of-sale and social media components.

For example, the brand posted a two-minute video on the microsite today showing off soccer tricks to get fans psyched for the upcoming sports event.

In addition to the new World Cup effort, McDonald's also has its own standalone app that pulls in location, menu and promotional information. At the same time, the burger chain has been quietly testing couponing and payment apps in both the U.S. and internationally the past few years in a move to likely build out its own payment and couponing app that brands such as Starbucks have seen success with. 

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