Mayor McCheese removes his top hat, dumps the last of the special sauce from his pockets, and waits at the terminal, grateful that his head was allowed through the security gate. (He had to get rid of his milkshake.) He’s on his way to London for the 2012 Olympics, where McDonalds has set up four Olympic venue restaurants to bring Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets to the cheering masses.
As part of its “Best of our Best” marketing campaign, McDonalds has hand-selected 2,000 of its best employees and one fictional character –an Olympic team of sorts — to fly in for the event, giving them time to attend the games and meet the athletes as well as sling burgers and fries. The team has been documenting the action on social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube.
In preparation for the summer games, McDonalds has built a special website to fill with chef demos, live tweets from the events, and five videos starring six of the “Best of the Best” team.
The employees represent 42 countries in McDonalds’ 33,000 restaurants around the world, and their stories are compelling: Hao Lian of China volunteered with the Ronald McDonald House Charities during the 2008 earthquake in Wenchuan; Chris Jeffers of Springfield, IL held his wedding reception at McDonalds, where he has worked for the last 17 years.
The videos are based on one-word themes like commitment, glory, and this one on friendship; and showcase London’s scenery from the perspective of the crew.
But the clincher is the return of Mayor McCheese, a retro McDonaldland character who starred in television ads beginning in the 1970’s. He’ll be documenting his tour of London in Flickr photos, following in the footsteps of children’s book character Flat Stanley and the garden gnome from the 2001 film Amélie.
Nostalgia seems to work well for McDonalds. A photo of Grimace went viral on Pinterest earlier this year when people learned that the lovable purple character was once evil and had four arms.
Mayor McCheese has already been spotted watching the opening ceremonies and walking around Olympic Park. He could not be reached for comment.