Thursday, June 5, 2008

McDonald's as Cross-Platform Kung Fu Master

This kind of multifaceted campaign, including a philanthropic tie-in, doesn't just happen. They're masters at integrated, coordinated marketing.

-Robert Passikoff, president of the Brand Keys branding consultancy

Passikoff is talking about McDonald's--specifically, the fast-food restaurant's tie-in with DreamWorks Animation SKG's film Kung Fu Panda. The movie will debut two months before the Olympics in Beijing. McDonald's is McDonald's is the official restaurant/food service sponsor of the games, and it has fine-tuned an international cross-platform extravaganza to push its relationship to the film, and through that to Pandas, and through that, to the China-based games. Ad agency Leo Burnett (famous for its cartoonish brand characters like the Keebler Elves) has created a TV commercial that will appear in 23 languages. It features "two child Kung Fu experts vying for the last Chicken McNugget left from a Happy Meal."

The campaign is international on TV, in-store, and online. and it even ties into public service activities: "From June 6 through July 3 in McDonald's restaurants in North America, and then rolling out across the world, McDonald's Kung Fu Panda Happy Meal program will treat kids with a toy of one of eight animal characters from the film each time they purchase a Happy Meal. In addition to offering Kung Fu master games and related offline activities for kids (like a new hip-hop panda dance), online promotions tying in with the 'Kung Fu Panda Party' promotional theme will encourage kids to learn about pandas and their environment. For instance, the site ( will offer a "panda-cam" enabling kids to view real pandas in their natural habitat. All of this ties in with McDonald's support of Conservation International, and specifically its support of CI projects in China aimed at protecting panda habitats.

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