I’ve blogged before about how smartphones enable new levels of engagement and context in our digital experiences. Its no small wonder that there are many retailers/restaurants/companies trying to use the engagement and context that smartphones enable to try to sell more stuff to people. While most folks focusing on this have traditionally focused on location-based advertising and coupons (which can oftentimes be annoying as companies have failed to really nail the “relevant” part), my buddy Joe recently shared a very creative use of mobile context and engagement on his Morning Chew Tumblr by McDonald’s in Sweden:
So, what do we have here?
- An interactive billboard: Wins McDonald’s “cool points” to draw the attention of the locals better than a static billboard image.
- Doesn’t require installation: It looks like the game is completely controlled over the mobile web – so no specialized software/installation for people to deal with to play (as long as you have a modern mobile browser).
- A game with a prize: The prospect of a free giveaway is the hook to get people engaged and, while the game itself is no World of Warcraft, its engaging enough and the “accomplishment” (survive for thirty seconds in a game of Pong) is just “hard” enough that the user probably feels like he/she should go into the local McDonald’s to claim his or her prize (and possibly buy something else while he/she is at it)
- Analytics capability: Traditional billboard advertising is difficult to run analytics on/measure. While there are research agencies who may be able to approximate “impressions”, there is no real way for companies who advertise on them to understand what level of engagement (was it a “meaningful engagement” – you know, as meaningful as an engagement with a static billboard could be :-)) or conversion (how many people who saw the billboard then went into a store and bought something). With this approach, not only can they get some measure of the number of meaningful engagements (the number of people who played the game), they can, with the mobile coupon, track how many people later went in to pick up the offer and if those people bought more than just the free giveaway they received. And, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from management consulting, its that you can’t manage what you don’t have a good measurement for.
Without any numbers, it’s a bit difficult to comment on whether this was a worthwhile campaign/investment on the part of McDonald’s (such a billboard campaign, while very cool, was probably not cheap), but what I like about it is that it gives a taste of the interesting new mobile commerce models that are yet to come.