Can Snapchat Help McDonald’s Combat its Millennial Problem?

On Monday, McDonald’s became the first brand to leverage Snapchat’s geofilter feature, which allows users to include location-specific filters to their snaps. Could this help move McDonald’s into Millennials’ good graces?

Snapchat is extraordinarily popular with Millennials – according to Statista, more than 80 percent of users are under 25 – while McDonald’s isn’t. Business Insider recently reported that while Millennials frequent McDonald’s, they’re not likely to recommend the chain to a friend. In other words, they would prefer food they perceive to be of higher quality, such as Chipotle, but they secretly settle for McDonald’s because it’s significantly cheaper.

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The chain has made many attempts to turn its image around, such as healthier menu options and the recent rebranding of the Hamburglar. Given the popularity of Snapchat’s geofilters – location-specific, sticker-filled filters which currently decorate more than 1 million snaps every day – a fun campaign on the messaging platform could help McDonald’s a lot more in that regard.

“I think right now, the struggle for brands is, unless you’re snapping something with the logo, there’s no way to associate yourself with the Snapchat story and then it disappears,” says Megan Toth, senior community manager of social strategy at iCrossing.

Toth adds that the sponsored geofilters are a win for everyone. After its Discover feature failed to make a big splash, Snapchat has an offering that serves as a great branding opportunity for advertisers. And consumers get more filter options.

“I’m always excited to snap something in any location and see, ‘Oh, there’s a new filter for Hell’s Kitchen or Columbus Circle,” Toth says. “I think [filters are] something people are already familiar with and as these brands get involved, I don’t think users will shy away from using the branded options, as opposed to a regular geofilter. I think people are just interested in sharing where they are with people and it’s fun.”

The McDonald’s filters include a double cheeseburger with a bite missing, French fries spilling out of their bag and hearts emblazoned with the golden arches logo. So far, they’ve gained some traction on Twitter.

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