By now, we've all seen the latest McNuggets' 40th anniversary campaign by McDonald’s Hong Kong. Love it or hate it, it has definitely caused buzz across social platforms, with many visiting the McNuggets art exhibition at West Kowloon Cultural District and immersing themselves in the metaverse gaming experience.
Explaining the idea behind the campaign, Tina Chao (pictured), chief marketing and digital customer experience officer, McDonald’s Hong Kong said during an interview that over the past 40 years, chicken McNuggets have been one of the favourite food items among all.
“As we see ‘nostalgia’ as a global trend, we leveraged the opportunity to celebrate the McNuggets’ 40th anniversary through revitalising the iconic characters from the brand’s marketing in the 80’s and tapping into pop art culture and the metaverse,” she added.
This isn’t the first instance the brand has leveraged nostalgia marketing and digitalisation to tap into a wider audience. Back in June this year, McDonald's made waves with Millennials when it collaborated with Krool Toys on an exclusive video game, to celebrate the 52nd birthday of its purple biped mascot Grimace.
Despite the campaign copping flak where consumers would purchase the shake and then pretend to pass away in gruesome situations, Chao still believed in maximising the brand's marketing, one of the key growth pillars of McDonald's global strategy.
"With community management, it’s more about observing and learning rather than controlling[...]We see marketing as an essential part of the business in good times and even more so in bad times,” she added.
The need to become more agile and data-driven
In a world of shrinking budgets, marketers often face the challenge of finding ways to maximise their impact with limited resources. Nonetheless, Chao said McDonald’s Hong Kong tends to look at risks as opportunities. “The worst of times are often also the best of times. When others are mindful of investing, we dare to go big.”
When facing economic uncertainty, brands need to understand that consumers are looking for a familiar place where they can find comfort. As such, Chao said while McDonald’s Hong Kong is investing in brand acts that reinforce the familiar role it plays in customers’ lives and in society, it is also providing more value choices such as its “prepaid voucher” offerings that help customers make more of every dollar during difficult times.
In terms of the key channels of marketing the brand has leveraged, Chao said customers these days are much more digital and social, which means brands need to be much more data-driven and agile to anticipate their needs.
"On the other hand, a brand’s values are becoming increasingly important. Customers nowadays pay closer attention to what a brand does than what it says. So, it’s essential for a brand to be clear on what it stands for and to walk the talk," she added.
While McDonald’s HK’s marketing is shifting more to digital spending, Chao still believes that offline integration is important in not only driving mass awareness but also reaching diverse segments among its broad customer mix.
“On the other hand, we also complement our mass communications with one-to-one direct engagement through our McDonald’s app, which allows for more personalisation,” she added.
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