Bronze Spike

Case Film

Presentation Image

Product / ServiceMCDONALDS
CategoryA01. Food / Drink
Idea Creation VMLY&R Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Production VMLY&R Sydney, AUSTRALIA


Name Company Position
Paul Nagy VMLY&R Chief Creative Officer
Jack Emery VMLY&R Sydney Associate Creative Director
Louise McQuat VMLY&R Sydney Associate Creative Director
Michael Gethin VMLY&R Sydney Art Director
Phil Barnes VMLY&R Sydney Copywriter
Isaac Lai VMLY&R Sydney Social Strategist
Josh Peacock VMLY&R Sydney Business Lead
Sommer Smith VMLY&R Sydney Senior Account Director
Cary Plott VMLY&R Sydney Senior Account Manager
August Lantay-Lefkovich VMLY&R Sydney Account Executive
Edward Krause VMLY&R Sydney Senior Digital Producer
Bryce Waters VMLY&R Sydney Photographer
Anderson Carloni VMLY&R Sydney Retoucher
Matt Barber VMLY&R Sydney Awards Producer
Kelly Hall VMLY&R Sydney Traffic Manager
Jo Feeney McDonalds Director of Marketing
Olga Starush McDonalds Senior Marketing Manager
Cindy Chee McDonalds Assistant Brand Manager
Tina Alldis McDonalds Senior Corporate Relations Manager
Tabitha Fairbairn Mango Managing Director
Angela McCann Mango Group Business Director
Caroline Nguyen Mango Senior Account Executive

Why is this work relevant for PR?

Our competitors were adding more and more ingredients to get people talking. But McDonald’s is famous for its classic ingredients and taste. ​ ​ We didn’t want to let competitors own the conversation. ​ ​ So we launched a new burger that got the whole world talking, made from one key ingredient – our famous pickles.​ ​ This single, organic post with $0 media behind it earned the equivalent of 12 million dollars in media space.​ ​ But most importantly, it had the world talking about their love of McDonald’s and one of our most iconic ingredients.


McDonald’s Australia found itself in a bit of a pickle. Our competitors were getting people talking by adding more and more ridiculous ingredients to their burgers – one replaced seeded buns with fried chicken! We didn’t want to follow suit. After all, why move away from a taste hundreds of millions of people already love? ​ ​ Our brief was to find a way to keep McDonald’s involved in the conversation and remind our audience why they love burgers from the Golden Arches – all without any media support.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

We launched a new McDonald’s burger, in conjunction with Mango PR, that looked like one of Australia’s favourites – the Big Mac – and packed it full of an ingredient that people loved to talk, debate and even argue about: pickles!​ ​ The McPickle appeared as a single post across Facebook and Instagram with zero media spend behind it, but it was an instant hit across Australia and the world.​ ​ The thing was...the McPickle didn’t exist. It was an April Fool’s joke.​ ​ But that didn’t stop people from making it for themselves.

Describe the strategy (30% of vote)

Brands across Australia and the world were adding more and more ingredients to get people talking about their burgers. But we wanted to stick with what our fans loved: classic McDonald’s ingredients and taste. ​ ​ So we tapped into a source of passionate discussion amongst our fans and followers: pickles. It was a topic that we noticed growing in recent months, after a post in January blew up with people debating whether they love pickles, or loathe them.​ ​ So, with April Fool’s on the horizon, we spotted an opportunity to take the conversation up a level and seed out a controversial into media placements where we knew we would receive great exposure. This would give our audience a reason to engage with us – and talk to the world about our beloved pickles.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

We identified April Fool’s Day as a big earned media opportunity. So, in collaboration with Mango PR, we reached out to media publications the day before to identify the most appropriate media opportunities for the McPickle to gain coverage. ​ ​ At 7am on 1st April 2019, a short video of the McPickle burger was posted to McDonald’s Australia’s Facebook and Instagram channels. Then at 9am AEST, media coverage of the McPickle began to spread, like wildfire. ​ ​ Our community management team spent the day (and many days after) replying to over 330,000 comments to stoke the conversations and ensure everyone, everywhere was aware of the McPickle.

List the results (30% of vote) – must include at least two of the following tiers:

The results were truly astonishing. Not only did the McPickle April Fool’s story gain traction in Australia, but it ended up spreading across the world for days on end. ​ ​ - 96% positive sentiment.​ - Over 500 million impressions.​ - Equivalent to more than $12 million P.R. value and $4 million advertising value​ - 75 pieces of international TV coverage​ - 19 pieces of international radio coverage​ - Generated 800 plus media stories​ - $0 spend.


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