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How MONOPOLY has become the UK’s most successful brand activation

As Wiiiin! wraps up for 2018 one thing is for sure: MONOPOLY at McDonald’s remains a true cultural phenomenon. It feels like a good point for us to look back and answer the question, “How did a humble sales promotion get this big?”

Since its inception in 2006, the activation has had a very clear commercial premise – increase total restaurant sales through guest count, and spend per transaction. These objectives have, in 2018, resulted in a consumer experience where customers have the chance to win a staggering 12million prizes ranging from £100k cash to a free Big Mac.

Commercially, MONOPOLY at McDonald’s had been an annual success, beating commercial targets for 12 years running. But McDonald’s wanted more. So, we established a new vision to evolve MONOPOLY into a brand engagement platform, driving affinity with customers.

The biggest barrier to building brand affinity for MONOPOLY at McDonald’s was believability. People simply didn’t believe that they could win. Even when the high 1 in 3 chance of winning was disclosed in research, it had a limited impact on believability perceptions. We dug deep into the research and determined that believability was simply a symptom of customers feeling like they had no control over the outcome. There was a perception that McDonald’s decided who was going to win, what they would win, and how often. They didn’t feel empowered by the experience, they felt frustrated. It made us think; if MONOPOLY made customers feel frustrated, how would they ever feel any form of brand affinity?

At its core, MONOPOLY needed to be an experience of empowerment for McDonald’s customers.

STEP 1: CHOICE

When you give people a choice in a game of chance, the more empowered they feel and the more they believe they will win (otherwise known as The Monty Hall Problem). As soon as someone chooses something, they own it. It becomes theirs.

The 2016 MONOPOLY game, titled “Prize Choice” enabled each winner to choose their prize. It sounds simple, but this was managed over a pool of 55 million prizes, requiring an entirely new, mammoth approach to operations and logistics at TMS. The theme of ‘choice’ was amplified across multiple marketing channels, including a Twitter voting mechanic where customers could choose the next instalment of the TV advert.

Watch the case study:

McDonalds – Monopoly Prize Choice from The Marketing Store, Europe on Vimeo.

STEP 2: INSTANT GRATIFICATION

The quicker the world responds to our needs, the more empowered we feel.

We live in a society which demands that everything from our news to our food is delivered instantly, largely due to the on-demand nature of technology and our reliance on our own devices.

Social media truly fuels this culture of instant gratification – relaying what people are doing, thinking or feeling instantly to the world. So, when “Win Win” was launched in 2017, TMS focused on social media as the core marketing channel.

The highlight? The launch of a Snapchat Lens that instantly gave that experience of playing and winning McDonald’s MONOPOLY – all without needing to enter the restaurant to play. It was a resounding success with 2.8million consumers reached on launch day alone. We also introduced a new game play mechanic called “Got 10 Spares?”, where customers could guarantee winning a NOW TV pass with 10 spare property stickers – no catch, no entry qualification rules.

Watch the case study:

McDonald’s – Monopoly Win Win Snapchat Campaign from The Marketing Store, Europe on Vimeo.

CHOICE + INSTANT GRATIFICATION = EMPOWERMENT

2016 and 2017 resulted in the highest ever footfall across McDonald’s restaurants, with a 159% increase in positive sentiment about MONOPOLY. In short, this two-year strategy exceeded all expectations.

As for 2018, Wiiiin! – watch this space.