Leading up to Cannes Lions, we showcase creative campaigns submitted from across the Asia Pacific.
To ‘hack’ video games, brands don’t need the glitziest tech. And getting more eyeballs on in-game branding doesn’t need sponsorship moolah. Just a keen understanding of gamer behavior and the gaming landscape.
Two things were key to this campaign:
1. The proliferation of food items in video games that look like McDonald’s.
2. The habit of gamers to screengrab gaming moments for bragging rights or posterity.
In late 2022, McDonald’s successfully hijacked the gaming multiverse with the launch of ‘Unbranded Menu’ – an open challenge to gamers to go hunt for McDonald’s ‘food-alikes’ in their favourite video games.
The Philippines’ best gaming influencers were identified by the brand and given the challenge to hunt. When the most popular gaming personality, Alodia Gosiengfiao, found a Big Mac-lookalike inside Grand Theft Auto V, she posted a screengrab of it.
She then challenged her eight million followers to search for food-alikes, tagging their discoveries #ThisIsMcDonalds. The hunt was officially on! Other influencers with their legions of fans followed suit.
Gamers began sharing pictures of virtual food items that bore an uncanny resemblance to McDonald’s iconic French Fries, Big Mac and Quarter Pounder sandwiches, Cheeseburgers, Hash Browns, Sundaes and other classics.
As a reward, McDonald’s exchanged these virtual finds for actual McDonald’s items, delivered free.
Hundreds of McDonald’s food-alikes were discovered in over 350 gaming titles, reaching 27 million gamers – that’s 2/3 of the Philippines’ gamers.
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