Product / ServiceMcDONALD'S
CategoryA03. Best Use of Live Events and/or Celebrity Endorsement

The Campaign

McDonald’s was in the midst of its multi-media “Eyes on Your Fries” campaign. We wanted to amplify further but funds were getting scarce, with expensive media like television, print, outdoor and in-store merchandising consuming the budget. We looked at the massive reach of social media in the country and saw a creative opportunity. We conceptualized “Fries Heist”, a whodunit activation involving the disappearance of -- not a person -- but the giant McDonald’s French Fries in a shopping mall installation. We rallied the public to help Ronald McDonald find who took his fries. We utilized PR via celebrity tweets and posts sympathizing with Ronald. We posted content on Facebook that gave clues on possible culprits via CCTV videos. Newspaper reports also spread awareness about the heist.

The Brief

We wanted to increase top-of-mind awareness for McDonald’s French Fries with limited marketing monies. We wanted consumers to buy more fries, despite McDonald’s facing stiff competition from local fastfood chain Jollibee, which has more stores and has been in the market longer.


Fries Heist was much talked about. The Fries Heist Activation-Digital effort proved to be effective in terms of engaging consumers. Total online reach hit 4,502,368. This amounted to total viewing time of 128,924 minutes. We had everybody’s eyes on the fries! More importantly, Fries Heist helped increase McDonald’s French Fries sales by 12% versus the same period last year.


We made a giant installation of McDonald’s French Fries and placed it in a leading shopping mall, Eastwood. This spurred families and friends to pose for pictures with our World Famous Fries. They then spontaneously shared the photos on social media sites. We had celebrities tweeting about and posting pictures of the giant fries. The digital world was abuzz with excitement. Days later, we made the fries disappear. Someone took the World Famous Fries! The public was shocked. Newspapers announced the “Fries Heist”. We deployed Ronald McDonald through a video where he asked for help in finding the fries. McDonald’s offered a reward. Daily, we released CCTV videos of the crime scene on McDonald’s Facebook page. Each video showed various characters as suspects: a couple, a maintenance man, a photographer, a jester, a delivery man. Finally, the hunt ended with a most unexpected culprit. With Fries Heist solved, we brought back the fries. People showed their love for the fries even more via social media.

The Situation

The Philippines is said to be “The Social Networking Capital of the World”. Social network penetration is incredibly high at 95%. Facebook is the country’s most popular website with a penetration rate of 93.9%. The Philippines is also the eighth most popular country for Twitter use. The popularity of photo sharing has increased by 46% in the country in one year, largely due to Facebook. Furthermore, 9 out of 10 Filipinos own mobile phones. As in most countries, television is the prime source of advertisements but it is also the most expensive. Given these facts, digital and mobile are very attractive options for marketing efforts that are highly cost-efficient.

The Strategy

The catalyst for the heist was the giant fries installation. So we wanted to be sure that it was most visible. We looked at the demographics of our market – upwardly mobile working professionals and their families -- and zeroed in on a mall that they frequent: Eastwood Mall. As Filipinos are mall habitués, the right mall provided the right venue for our display. In the middle of Eastwood’s outdoor atrium, the giant fries was literally the center of attention. To get instant and real-time buzz, we tapped into social media. McDonald’s has over 800,000 fans on Facebook. They were also voracious Instagram and Twitter users. It made sense to interlink the on-ground display and the consequent heist with digital activation.


Name Company Position
Cey Ponferrada Leo Burnett Manila Planner
Joy Santos Leo Burnett Manila Planner
Revolver Post Production House
Shoe String Production House
Hit Production Sound Company
Borgy Torre Director
Lester Parulan Producer
Steve Vesagas Producer
Trixie Angeles Leo Burnett Manila Account Executive
Maik Alturas Leo Burnett Manila Account Manager
Donny Dingcong Leo Burnett Manila Account Management Director
Stephanie Mangalindan Leo Burnett Manila Art Director
Aimee Espiritu Leo Burnett Manila Copywriter
Raoul Panes Leo Burnett Manila Copywriter
Dante Dizon Leo Burnett Manila Creative Director
Raoul S. Panes Leo Burnett Manila Chief Creative Officer