#PRAwards highlight: Why McDonald's and Lumos H+K charmed teachers across Malaysia

McDonald’s has always set itself apart with its numerous innovative executions in Malaysia. Last month, the brand was awarded the bronze award for "Best Engagement for a Targeted Community" in Marketing and A+M's inaugural 2020 PR Awards. Leading up to Teachers Day 2019, McDonald’s Malaysia tapped into the expertise of Lumos Hill+Knowlton Strategies to reach out to teachers in Malaysia with its  "Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McDonald’s 2019" campaign. The campaign saw tremendous success reaching over 10 million people. Here's a look at how the brand won the hearts of the judges.

Challenge

McDonald’s Malaysia has often had to battle negative perceptions that sometimes crop up around the food it serves and its role in the community. As one of the most recognisable US brands globally, the brand is sometimes an easy target for boycotts by NGOs. Acknowledging these challenges and based on its own research, McDonald’s Malaysia discovered that teachers are a very important group that must be engaged proactively to counter this on-going  challenge as they have a significant influence over the younger generation.

Strategy

Knowing that it had to reach the pool of teachers, McDonald’s worked with its agency Lumos Hill+Knowlton Strategies to ensure that an outreach programme was created that would garner a large share of voice leading up to the National Teachers Day celebrations.

Through the campaign, it hoped to:

  • Position McDonald’s Malaysia as a brand that champions teachers, the unsung heroes among Malaysians.
  • Increase the number of nomination submissions for Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McDonald’s 2019.
  • Drive awareness among teachers on the McDonald’s biggest Teachers’ Day celebration .

The end objective was to improve on McDonald’s Malaysia’s brand health indicators, especially in the category under “Good Neighbour - A company that makes a positive influence in my community”.

Execution

A campaign with a time frame of a stringent 2.5 months was created by running an awards programme as well as simultaneously organising the biggest Teachers’ Day celebration by the brand. The element of continuous engagement through effective storytelling was imperative. Hence, the campaign was broken down into three phases:

Phase 1: Launch and call-to-action for AGI McDonald’s 2019

McDonald’s worked with Lumos Hill+Knowlton Strategies to launch the third edition of Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McDonald’s 2019 (AGI McDonald’s) in a big way. Lumos Hill+Knowlton Strategies approached the launch with a two-pronged strategy:

  1. To have the then Minister of Education launch the campaign, as AGI is one of the initiatives in collaboration with the Ministry of Education in 2019
  2. To celebrate the past winners of the award. Featuring these winners, the team held a press briefing before the start of the media event to highlight the stories of the past winners so the media would have the opportunity to gain some insight into the kind of stories that AGI McDonald’s is aiming to bring to light.

Post the media event, the task was to create awareness about the award and drive award nominations from across the country. The aim was to rally the public to nominate inspiring teachers and surpass the total amount of nominations garnered in 2018. In order to create awareness, the agency engaged a mixed group of influencers to drive awareness with a rallying call-to-action towards the public to nominate teachers who have inspired them.

Lumos Hill+Knowlton Strategies engaged Tier 1 influencer, Daphne Iking and a group of teachers who are influential on social media during this phase to urge the public by showing them where to head to and the step-by-step process on how to submit their nomination(s). The nomination period was from 1 to 31 March 2019.

Phase 2: Celebrating teachers (Awards presentation)

After the window for nomination submission was closed, the next phase was to celebrate teachers ahead of national Teachers’ Day in Malaysia. This phase also saw McDonald’s Malaysia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, announce the 25 winners of AGI McDonald’s 2019. This was held on 13 May 2019 in conjunction with Festival Guru Malaysia 2019 in Penang. A video was also unveiled during the ceremony.

Phase 3: McDonald’s biggest Teachers’ Day celebration (#TerimaKasihCikgu)

For national Teachers’ Day, McDonald’s Malaysia provided a free meal voucher to each of the more than 420,000 teachers in Malaysia. Teachers could use these vouchers to redeem either a McChicken or Filet-O-Fish meal at any McDonald’s restaurant across the country. McDonald’s Malaysia spent approximately RM4.5 million on these free meals for teachers nationwide.

Results

Lumos Hill+Knowlton Strategies prepared press materials and influencer briefs while keeping in close contact with a group of influencers to adhere to the campaign timeline which was broken down into phases. The drive-through of the messaging and hype led to a total of 7,563 nomination submissions in 2019, the highest number throughout the three editions of AGI McDonald’s. This was a 138% increase from the nominations of 2018 (3000) . The campaign also saw a reach of to 10 million people which was a 500% increase from 2018.

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