McDonald’s HK social experiment puts its coffee to the test

McDonald’s has teamed up with DDB Group Hong Kong for a social experiment that takes customers on a journey inside each cup of McCafé coffee.

While the coffee category in Hong Kong has shown tremendous growth over the past three years, research shows that consumers still judge coffee by what goes on outside the cup, including coffee shop ambience, brand image and the perception that a higher price indicates better quality.

DDB set out to change people’s perceptions, and encourage them to re-evaluate their coffee criteria, by turning their focus to what goes on inside the cup instead.

“We want people to see McCafé coffee for what it really is – great tasting, barista-prepared coffee from quality beans that does not cost an arm and a leg,” said Andreas Krasser, head of strategy & innovation at DDB Group Hong Kong.

The social experiment, captured on video and released on Facebook, asks participants to prepare a cup of coffee themselves. Only after going through the meticulous process: starting a coffee machine, dispensing coffee powder and foaming milk - and at the end it revealed that the coffee is in fact McCafé’s new Cocoa Tazza brew.


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Following the video’s launch, McCafé will return to the streets of Hong Kong to let customers try the coffee machine for themselves, and brew their own complimentary cup. The coffee tour will be broadcast on Facebook Live to maximise exposure and encourage online discussions.

“There is no better way of proving the quality of our beans than letting customers taste it for themselves,” said Esther Chung, marketing director at McDonald’s Hong Kong.

“Following the huge success of our coffee van, we are very excited to bring it back and continue these valuable one-on-one interactions on the street – sharing our brew, and hearing people rave about the aroma, roast and taste.”

VP regional director, DDB Asia: Peter Rodenbeck
Head of strategy and innovation: Andreas Krasser
Executive creative director: Jamal Hamidi
Creative director: Ben Ling
Associate creative director: Anderson Wan
Senior art director: Joseph Lam
Business director: Noel Yuen
Associate account director: Daniel Law
Head of broadcast: Annie Tong
TV producer: Wai Hung Wong
Director: Cho Cheng, Phi Workshop
Media agency: OMD