McDonald’s Celebrates World Cup Fever with Global Campaign

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

McDonald’s is touting its ongoing sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup with a host of promotions and in-store activations spanning the globe to reach Hispanic consumers and soccer fans, alike.

In honor of the event, McDonald’s has launched its global Player Escort Program, in which the QSR is sending 1,408 children ages six to 10 to the World Cup in Germany. At the start of all 64 FIFA World Cup matches, escorts will walk on the field with soccer athletes and experience the tournament firsthand. Children selected to participate will also have the chance to play soccer matches as part of their own tournament in select German host cities.

The FIFA World Cup begins today and runs through July 9. McDonald’s has been a sponsor and official partner of the World Cup since 1994 in the U.S.

As part of its sponsorship, McDonald’s is giving consumers around the world a chance to play an online game at The McDonald’s/FIFA Fantasy game is available in nine languages and give fans a chance to manage a squad of soccer players and complete against celebrity fantasy teams online.

Globally, McDonald’s is bringing a piece of the World Cup action to its restaurants with a number of promotions.

  • Germany, the World Cup host country, is recruiting the largest number of children (1,182 from its country alone) for its Player Escorts program. In addition, the QSR has recruited official fan dancers to entertain fans at six tournament matches. Since January, Germany restaurants have distributed more than 10,000 World Cup tickets through promotions.
  • Brazil is offering a sandwich promotion featuring tastes and flavors from countries competing in the World Cup, including Italy, France, Argentina, the U.K., Uruguay and Germany.
  • China is launching a World Cup TV spots, displaying World Cup-themed posters and offering World Cup-themed beverage cups at its restaurants.
  • In India, McDonald’s is hosting a Foosball Freekick indoor table soccer game, where consumers can take penalty shots against a goalkeeper and win prizes.
  • Japan McDonald’s launched a World Cup-themed promotion featuring a World Cup mini-match ball and plush Goleo Vi toys, the official mascot of the soccer tournament.
  • The U.K. is running TV spots promoting a text to win mobile phone text messaging contest.

In the U.S., McDonald’s is offering limited edition FIFA World Cup beverage cups with its Spicy Chicken sandwich promotion. TV and radio spots support. In addition, Some 28 children from the U.S will participate in McDonald’s Player Escort Program.

“The global World Cup sponsorship is a leverage point for us with Hispanic consumers,” said Rick Marroquin, director of marketing U.S. Hispanic, McDonald’s USA. “We know the passion they have with soccer and particularly with the World Cup. We believe [this promotion] it’s a great way we can leverage that passion.”

McDonald’s is no stranger to the sport. In the U.S., the QSR became a sponsor of the Mexican National Soccer Team three years ago, Marroquin said. McDonald’s has launched new TV spots featuring members of the Mexican National Soccer Team to promote its relationship and tie to the World Cup, he said.

In addition, McDonald’s restaurants in New York are running a regional World Cup promotion with Hoy, a Spanish-language newspaper. McDonald’s ran a specialty wrap of Hoy’s New York edition, which includes a frequency card, to introduce the FIFA World Cup Meal Promotion. The frequency card is a new customer loyalty program for the New York market that gives consumers a free extra value meal after require purchases of the meals. In southern California, McDonald’s restaurants are offering special commemorative cups tied to the World Cup.

Select locations in Europe are selling a limited-time World Cup burger, which is 40% larger than McDonald’s Big Mac (Xtra, May 24, 2006).

“Ultimately, we are providing an opportunity for folks,” Marroquin said. “We are bringing everyone closer [to the World Cup].”

The Marketing Store, Oakbrook Terrace, IL, handles McDonald’s promotions; del Rivero Messianu DDB, Miami, handles advertising; DRM Tribal, Miami, handles online promotion; Experiencia, Chicago, handles on-site U.S. activation and OMD, New York, handles media buying and placement.

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