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Yesterday, Living Social Sold 1.39 Billion Calories Worth of McDonald's Food.

Yesterday Living Social ran a promotion with McDonald's: $13 for 5 Big Macs and 5 large fries. With 15 hours to go, they have already sold ~260,000 deals... which equates to 1.2 million Big Macs. ~35,000 people shared the deal via Facebook (~13%). I remind you: the deal *still* has 15 hours remaining. What's this all mean? Of Big Macs alone, Living Social sold: 763 million calories 44 million grams of fat 60 million grams of carbs and 31 million grams of protein

When you add in the fries, the total dent is: 1.39 billion calories and 76 million grams of fat


McDonald's Buys Facebook Ads to Ask, "Would You Check-In?"

McDonald's is currently buying sponsored ads on Facebook to ask whether you "would check-in at a McDonald's restaurant". Considering that McDonald's does not currently provide offers for checking-in via Facebook Places, this appears to be a survey campaign. At the time of the screenshot, over 20,000 Facebook users completed the survey. ~30% of those users have already check-in to McDonald's (hard to believe?) and 43% would do so for a "good" deal.

This is not surprising: we know that people love discounts and anything with the word "free".

It is a different approach to advertising alongside Facebook Deals. Starbucks and H&M have run campaigns promoting their deals - McDonald's might well do that in the future, but for now it is more of a branded research project.

(un)Attractive Foursquare Mayor Offers

Traveling this week, I checked into Boston's Logan Airport on Foursquare. I noticed that a special 'local offer' existed. Hoping it was discounted Dunkin Donuts coffee, I took a look and uncovered one of that strangest Foursquare Mayor Offers I have seen: The mayor of Logan Airport gets Massport 'Swag'... which no doubt means that someone working inside of Logan is wearing an "I Love Boston" sweatshirt.

More seriously: this is a lesson in crafting compelling offers... which in turn drive activity, engagement, sharing, etc. Discounts (see Gap, McDonalds) and giveaways are more attractive, appeal to larger audiences, and likely drive new users / fans / check-ins.

20% of McDonald's Facebook Ad is Hamburger Legalese

I have written much about the importance of copy in advertising... particularly Facebook ads. The below premium Facebook ad from McDonald's is the best yet. McDonald's dedicated ~20% of their allotted 135 characters to a disclaimer about the burger's pre-cooking weight... and that is after they compressed "weight before cooking": The Simple Joy of Burgers and Angus Third Pounder* downloads. Spend more time with the things you like. *wbc at least 5.33oz The fact that I knew what 'wbc' stood for reveals my unfortunate food preferences... but assume not everyone shares my tastes and the ad is even stranger:

To put this in context - take a look at the Angus Third Pounder landing page from the ad. Huge burger. Big copy. And buried at the very bottom is the same legalese: wbc before cooking 5.33oz. But in this case it doesn't interfere with the page / ad and is barely noticeable:

Follow McDonalds on Facebook, Are you Sure?

Several social media best practices - particularly on Facebook - come from big consumer brands: Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Rockstar, Vitamin Water, etc. McDonalds is arguably the biggest brand, but.... Go to and notice prominent links to follow them on Facebook and Twitter. There is more real estate dedicated to each of these than, for instance, to their restaurant locator:

Click on Facebook and a shadowbox pops up that asks, "are you sure you want to leave?"

It's almost as though McDonald's wants to promote Facebook / Twitter... but doesn't like the consequence of having it occur on Facebook / Twitter. It is also bizarre because the call to action is clearly "Become a Fan on Facebook" - so if I have offered to do so, why ask me to confirm again?

The strangest part is the messaging below the Yes / No. The language is not particularly inviting.... nor does it suggest that McDonald's itself is involved with their various accounts:

"You are leaving the McDonald's Corporation web site for a site that is controlled by a third party, not affiliated with McDonald's."

... But we hope that eventually you do decide to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

McDonalds McCafe Takes Over YouTube

McDonalds has launched an advertising campaign alongside their new McCafe coffee line. You've likely seen the new McCafe spots during prime time television and today McDonalds overtook YouTube's homepage (see screenshots below). The campaign is interesting in itself - primarily because of the real estate and integrated components... and in a format that we have seen before.

But the most interesting part is how McDonalds defines their iced coffee: based on the diagram it is about 90% "light cream" and 10% "brewed coffee". Is this actually considered a coffee drink? Did McDonalds diagram it incorrectly and reverse the ingredients? Whatever it is... it cannot be right:


McDonalds McCafe McDonalds McCafe

The Economy Boosting McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts; Hurting Starbucks

Unlike many regular coffee drinkers, I actually quite like Starbucks. I plan to write further about this, but Starbucks is innovative, open to consumer feedback (hence the Pikes Place brew) and make consistently good coffee. I written many times though that I prefer Dunkin Donuts - in part due to the pricing. One outcome of the economic climate is that cheaper coffee producers (namely McDonalds) are finding success as consumers aren't willing to forgo their morning joe... but are willing to buy from cheaper locations.

Douglas Fisher, president of consultancy FHG International Inc, said, "The consumer is retrenching. They're out less and they're spending less. It's the low end of the market that is picking up now. A lot of it is consumers trading down."

I've heard - but been unable to verify - that Starbucks in fact saw sales rise, but revenues and profits fall as their consumers were shifting from more expensive, espresso-based drinks to drip coffees (which are about 50% of the cost). Whereas as latte can cost over $4.00, drip cofees are $1.50-$1.85 with available refills.

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Meanwhile, business at McDonald's continues to grow as it cashes in on consumers' appetite for value. "Value, which has always been important, is mission critical today," McDonald's chief executive officer Jim Skinner said last month in reporting strong third-quarter results. Its U.S. same-store sales, a key measure in retailing, rose 4.7 per cent.

The picture is in stark contrast at Starbucks. It reported a same-store sales decline in the United States of 8 per cent, which was more than the company had anticipated. ... It doesn't help that McDonald's, which has declared itself to be "recession-resistant," is putting a push on selling coffee. In Canada, McDonald's premium drip coffee costs $1.13, $1.36 and $1.54 for its various servings compared with $1.58, $1.79, $2.05 and $2.24 at Starbucks.

Amazon & McDonalds - A Lesson in Awful Cross Marketing

While I cannot definitively label this as the worst cross-marketing I've ever received (see that one here...!) - this isn't far behind. Today I received a package of Myoplex Light (a healthy, protein-heavy meal replacement system). In the package, Amazon included a coupon for a free McDonalds Southern Chicken sandwich and a free Southern Chicken Breakfast biscuit. Seriously? The point of me ordering the Myoplex was to eat healthy. Amazon even lists the product under the "Health and Personal Care" category - so not only is the McDonalds cross merchandising completely irrelevant to my purchase... it's downright cruel and tempting!!

Facing Pressure from McDonalds, Starbucks Offers $1 Drip Coffees w/ Free Refills

Just last week, the San Jose Mercury News (a far cry from the Washington Post and Boston Globe that I am used to...) had a picture of McDonald's Coffee as their front-page article. McDonalds remains the largest seller of coffee in the US and their new 'premium' coffees are much richer and must improved. And they have now released espresso drinks in all of their San Francisco locations - trying to steal some of Starbucks' market (the focus on the story).

That apparently has Starbucks scared enough to start testing lower prices for drip coffees - and that has me very excited. In Seattle stores, Starbucks is now offering tall drips for $1.00 (about $0.50 cheaper than normal) with free refills. I am hoping this makes its way down into California, but I am quite doubtful it will... after all, Starbucks has made it an annual tradition to increase coffee prices across the board. But I can hope.

An aside: I still believe that two things:

1) Starbucks drip coffees are still the best chain around. Their espresso-based drinks often are too 'burnt' tasting, but their drip coffees are vastly underrated and all that I now order. In order, these are their three best roasts: 1. Sumatra 2. Gold Cast 3. Komodo Dragon

2) There is still a massive business opportunity to bring Dunkin Donuts to California. There isn't a single DD, yet there are millions of east coast transplants. Dunkin still makes the best iced coffees and, believe it or not, iced coffees make more sense out here than they do in Boston. I do not like having to order my Dunkin Donuts beans online and am waiting for the revolution to begin.