Why McDonald's Is Airing 25 Different Spots Over 31 Days

Sirloin Burger TV Push Takes Inspiration From Social Media

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McDonald's may have brought back a slimmed-down version of the Hamburglar to help promote its limited-time sirloin burger, but it's making a fat media buy to back one of its biggest marketing pushes this year.

As part of the promotion for the new premium burger, the chain will air 25 different TV spots over the course of 31 days, one for each weekday. Each of the 25 ads will feature Max Greenfield, one of the stars of Fox's TV show "New Girl." In every new ad he will offer another "reminder" to try the limited-time item. The push will air through the week of June 12, though the burgers will be available for a couple weeks after that.

Airing dozens of different videos has become commonplace in a social or online campaign, but such a practice doesn't typically happen in a TV campaign. For one thing, the production of that many spots can get expensive, so McDonald's shot all 25 in one day, all with the same setting and background.

Joel Yashinsky, VP-marketing at the chain, said that the idea was to take what's typically a social-media strategy and employ it in traditional advertising. "We've been asking our agency partners to be innovative, taking learnings from a social and digital standpoint and bringing them to traditional work. We're looking for new and innovative ways to approach traditional media, particularly TV."

On weekends, the fast-feeder will air an ad related to the sirloin burger, ones that Mr. Yashinsky called "evergreen" spots that aren't numbered the way the others in the campaign are.

One character that's missing from the TV work -- with the exception of one small reference -- is the newly updated Hamburglar, who was recently trotted out to announce the sirloin burger. His role is limited to social and digital media, said Mr. Yashinsky. He noted that that the launch of the sirloin burger had been underway for months, and that the idea to resurrect the Hamburglar came from Golin, McDonald's PR agency.

"We knew it could be interesting to engage online from different perspective" with the Hamburglar, he said. Mr Yashinsky added that social commentary related to the new Hamburglar has been 82% neutral or positive, according to the company's social media analysis -- a figure that Mr. Yashinsky said is generally higher than what McDonald's has seen in the past.

McDonald's other social efforts with the Hamburglar include Snapchat, Vine, and on May 29, McDonald's will begin marketing on Periscope.

Golin developed the social work, including the videos of the Hamburglar, for the campaign. Leo Burnett created the advertising, including TV spots. DDB integrated it into digital, and Alma DDB, and IW Group and Burrell each crafted separate sirloin campaigns for Hispanic, Asian-American and African-American segments, McDonald's said.

So far in 2015, McDonald's has been making an effort to produce big marketing splashes to reconnect with customers as it battles ongoing sales declines. Right after the first of the year, it launched its brand refresh, which focused on what it said was the positivity of "I'm lovin' it," particularly the "lovin'" part. That launch included several 60-second ads, one of which aired during the Super Bowl. Its additional Super Bowl effort included a social-media campaign in which it gave away every product advertised in the Super Bowl, an idea created by DDB Chicago.

The chain launched an additional global effort in which is staged 24 events in 24 countries, marketing them on social media.

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