Product / ServiceMCDONALD'S
CategoryA03. Best Brand or Product Integration into a Feature Film, Existing TV Show and/or Series
Production Company PROJEKTA Sydney, AUSTRALIA

The Campaign

Branded content in Australia is a growing area across TV and digital platforms particularly due to the growth of video over broadband and social media. SBS and ABC (national broadcasting channels) have major restrictions in regards to brands and integration in programs. Our domestic free to air channels have some limited restrictions, however it’s largely self-policing, based on the networks’ opportunity to maximise revenue. There is a constant balancing act between brand involvement, quality control and program integrity. The majority of content integration is managed via the networks rather than brands doing deals with production companies. In off peak and in subscription TV there are more opportunities for brand involvement, prime time is the most difficult to secure and is based on a number of variables; ratings and audience, being two key factors. The “reality” genre is predominantly appearing within prime time programming and features the majority of branded integration e.g. The X Factor. Outside of prime time we are seeing brands achieving success with documentaries; sport, music, and other niche genres on the free to air digital channels.


In 2009 the launch of Angus at McDonald’s was a great success, growing McDonald’s market share, driving traffic and bringing new customers through their doors. But in 2010, competitors responded with Hungry Jacks introducing the ‘Angry Angus’. In 2012, McDonald’s planned to re-affirm its QSR leadership with a new format: The ‘Serious’ lamb burger – It was big, messy and set to shake up the market. We knew guys would love it, especially our established McDonald’s burger lovers. But what about the broader 18 – 39 ‘switcher’ audience? Our high sales targets meant we had to convince them to trial. The challenge was to convey serious burger credentials in a fun and uniquely McDonald’s way to the ‘loyalist’, and all-important ‘switcher’ audiences. They were the music video generation weaned on MTV and iPods and now actively engaging with reality TV formats via voting and social media interaction. Our surprising solution: Create a ‘Serious’ love song using Australia’s biggest reality TV show – The X Factor. Yet there had to be entertaining twist: the object of affection is the McDonald’s new ‘Serious’ Lamb Burger. It was a serious move but research told us that the X-Factor audience loved watching the journey of the participants1, their heartfelt performances, the costumes and the dancing. So, we wanted to take these elements, flip the word ‘serious’ on its head and create a campaign that this tough-to-crack audience would get excited about. We joined forces with 2011 X-Factor runner-up, Johnny Ruffo, and created a tongue-in-cheek, parody-style music video about his ‘serious’ love for the new ‘Serious’ burger range. Drawing on inspiration from over-the-top RnB videos about love and staying true to Johnny’s cheeky and irreverent personality, this was a sure fire way to grab the attention of our audience and show that McDonald’s didn’t take themselves too seriously.

Young Australians love to interactive and actively contribute to the outcome of reality TV formats. We identified that the best way to connect with our young audience was via a sponsorship integration of the No.1-rating reality TV talent show “The X Factor" to establish our “serious burger” credentials. We made our very own parody-stylde music video on The X-Factor to launch the premium burger. Over 1.4 million tuned in to the premier of ‘Gettin’ Serious’. In one week, the music video had over 227,000+ views, 800+ comments and 1,000+ shares. The behind the scenes content was viewed over 55,000 times.

The sponsorship of the X-Factor generated a huge $5.9m worth of value and more than four times the investment. Johnny Ruffo’s song ‘Gettin’ Serious’ aired to an audience of 1.4 million as the first ad in commercial airtime. A full length version of the song was uploaded onto the Yahoo!7 online destination page, as well as McDonald’s YouTube and Facebook pages and within one week, it had achieved 227,000+ views, 800+ comments and 1,000+ shares. The music video also stirred conversations in the media with 18 press articles published across Australia and New Zealand. The consumer promotion and online content leading up to the music video release made the ‘Get Serious’ hub the go-to destination for X-Factor fans and resulted in: • 10,862 entries to the competition • 98,649 website views • 55,514 video streams on the behind the scenes content series But really only one result mattered. Research showed that 74%2 of X-Factor viewers had ‘purchased McDonald’s in the last 12-weeks’. We had exceeded all expectations. There is no doubt that this campaign was a ‘serious’ success! 1 Firefly – Millward Brown Research November 2011 2 Network Seven, 2012


Name Company Position
Joanne Liddell Omd Fuse Head Of Fuse
Sally Hickson Omd Fuse Fuse Communications Manager
Helen Walker Omd Fuse Fuse Group Communications Director
Sarah Harrington Birch Omd Account Director