In an effort to reduce the amount of illiterate children in the United States, McDonald’s started a campaign that encourages parents to read to their children by including a book in their Happy Meals as opposed to a toy. They have already given away over 20 million original children’s books.
To launch this campaign, Leo Burnett developed a genius, interactive and staged event at a Chicago McDonald’s that awed all customers. Essentially, they rearranged, changed, made up nonsensical words to place on all the menus, signs, and products in the store.
Customers, unaware of why nothing in the store made sense, stood in confusion as they tried to order their food. Eventually, the store changed the menus back to normal, using electronic signs, and customers got the point-
Life is hard if you are illiterate.
Check out this link for the full video http://mcdonaldsliteracystore.com/. Heads up: you may shed a tear.
Not only did this campaign bring awareness to the often ignored social issue of illiteracy in children, but it did so in a way that didn’t just tell people the problem; it immersed them in the loss and confusion that many children who grow up illiterate feel. This has a much stronger and lasting impact than any other form of advertisement could.
Kudos to McDonald’s for promoting this, and to Leo Burnett for such flawless execution.
I think interactive staged events like this one are more impactful than any plain advertisement that you would see on TV or as a sign on the top of a taxicab. Events like this create buzz- if this happened to you when you stopped in McDonald’s to grab your morning coffee, wouldn’t you immediately tweet about it? Call your mom? Text your roommate?
Yet again, the evolution of modern day advertisement is made clear. You must be creative, innovative, and emotionally appealing to succeed. It is becoming increasingly difficult to connect with audiences on any medium other than social media, so when a company executes staged events, like McDonald’s literacy store, we are reminded how powerful they can be.