McDonald’s Targets the Morning Impaired in Java Push

While having a McDonald’s employee splash some cream and sugar in a customer’s morning coffee may not seem like much of a draw for consumers, the fast food chain has launched two separate tongue-in-cheek campaigns touting that very feature for its Premium Roast Coffee.

McDonald’s tasked one ad agency, Tribal DDB Chicago, to create television, print, radio and digital ads, while it had agencies Moroch Partners and Inspire create a microsite revolving around a related “Morning Impaired” campaign and a contest for consumers to submit their own videos.

As putting cream and sugar into coffee is not the most extraordinary feature for customers, the ad agencies decided to poke fun at the idea to appeal to consumers.

“We’re doing it in a way that is entertaining enough that they would find that a fun way to start their morning,” said Kevin Flatt, executive creative director at Tribal DDB. “Don’t take it too seriously, because it’s about putting cream and sugar in the coffee. It’s not rocket science.”

For the Tribal DDB campaign promotions, two different tacks were taken in approaching the TV promotions versus the digital, print and radio promotions, and where they were placed. While TV spots feature “morning person Rick Roark” who doesn’t need coffee to get started in the morning, the rest of the Tribal campaign plays off the “But wait… there’s more!” style of advertisements in the forms of online videos.

Viewers will be able to watch video ads directly from rich media banners, or link directly to the videos on the company’s Web site, but McDonald’s is also targeting ad space where it expects consumers will be first viewing in the morning. Ads have been purchased on AOL Instant Messenger, as well as on Fox and MSN. The campaign is trying to reach people as they log onto computers and check who won the previous night’s American Idol or sports figures, said Flatt.

“The main thing was to take advantage of the online media to capture people when they might be thinking about breakfast,” he said.

The customization element of the online medium is also a theme Tribal DDB tried to play off of for promoting Premium Coffee, said Jaime Guerrero, managing supervisor for Tribal DDB.

“The television is definitely focused more on the Premium Rich coffee, and the print, and the point of presence in-store and the digital is more focused on the customization,” said Guerrero. “It’s all the same message about cream and coffee, but the latter is more the deeper dive into the touch point. It’s trying to convey this message about customization.”

Separately, the Morning Impaired Web site, created by Moroch Partners and Inspire, promotes not only the McDonald’s coffee but its whole breakfast menu. The site is being promoted with television and radio spots, Internet banner ads, outdoor and point-of-purchase materials, and will run in 44 U.S. media markets and over 3,800 restaurants, according to the company. McDonald’s will also run a Spanish language version of the site.

McDonald’s is also inviting its customers to make videos about being “Morning Impaired.” Three of the videos submitted will be shown on the site later in the year.

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