Industry News | September 17, 2009

Franz Ferdinand, Others Working ‘Late’ for McDonald’s

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As an attempt to attract young-adult diners to the late-night daypart, McDonald's recently tested an online music video advertising campaign featuring an array of artists including The Fray and Sean Kingston.

The campaign, Late Night McDonald's, was an attempt to establish a national late-night message for the entire brand.

"We had about 16 or so markets that were in need of targeting some interactive media against a young-adult target in support of their late-night messaging," says Shawn Gurn, director of digital media for Moroch, the advertising agency who worked with McDonald's on the campaign. "We had a lot of markets running messaging [for] late-night and really no clear direction how to bring some content into the mix to make it reach the young-adult target-with music obviously [being] one of the passion points for us."

In order to bring in that musical content, Moroch partnered with RedLever Inc., a creative agency that specifically works with online content development and targeted distribution.

"Moroch and RedLever worked together to connect to this sort of hip, younger, demo audience, and in our experience music is a universal entertainment medium that allows for deeper engagement for this specific demographic," says Richard Shore, COO of RedLever.

RedLever's relationship with Sony Music, specifically with Epic Records, proved to be the biggest advantage for the campaign.

"We went with that specific label because their artist roster is varied across genres, but also remains relatively popular," Shore says. "When connecting the brands and bands, you want to stay somewhat safe in the music world, and all of the Epic artists were pretty brand-safe."

Six artists were featured in the Late Night McDonald's campaign: Franz Ferdinand, Sean Kingston, Natasha Bedingfield, The Script, Incubus, and The Fray.

Gurn says the point of the campaign was to offer interactive media that engaged the customer. The advertisement is designed in such a way that it expands when a mouse is scrolled over it, allowing the user to click on the various artists and music videos.

"Our ultimate goal was to provide some engagement, beyond [just clicking on the ad] being the only thing that we're truly evaluating," Gurn says. "We were interested in the amount of time being spent with the ads."

In the test markets of the Late Night McDonald's campaign, there was an 11.6 percent rate of engagement-the amount of people who, upon seeing the ad, rolled over it. Of those, 85 percent listened to a music video or several music videos through RedLever's VideoBox site.

Moroch and RedLever plan on expanding the Late Night McDonald's campaign nationwide in the coming months.

By Sam Oches