McDonald's Turns Fries Packaging into Virtual Reality Soccer Field

Fast Feeder's World Cup Push Redesigns Spuds Box For First Time

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The World Cup is almost upon us, and official sponsor McDonald's is launching a huge global effort that features new fry boxes that allow you to play and an augmented-reality app called McDonald's Gol!

Beginning May 26, the chain will -- for the first time -- change its medium and large fry boxes globally for the promotion, offering 12 different World-Cup-themed designs featuring work from artists commissioned from around the world. The fry boxes will also serve as the entry point for an augmented-reality game on the app.

"This is the first time in brand history we're changing the packaging design of one of our customers' most favourite menu items on a global scale, and what better reason than to share in the excitement of one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world," said Steve Easterbrook, senior exec VP-global chief brand officer of McDonald's, in a statement. "This is about bringing fun, innovative programming to our customers and celebrating our shared love of futbol. We're excited to be able to do that through an engaging, interactive mobile experience, and of course with our world-famous fries." Separately, the chain is also executing a series of menu promotions in various markets like Australia and Brazil, this year's host country.

Once they download the app, customers can begin playing the game by holding the screen of their mobile device up to the front of the box, according to the press release, and the device and app will recognize the artwork and prompt the game. As the device recognizes the artwork, a soccer pitch will appear in an augmented-reality scene on the screen. The Marketing Store led the initiative to redesign the fry boxes with a collection of different images for the World Cup and a spokeswoman for McDonald's said DDB came in to help conceptualize the idea of using the artwork to trigger an augmented reality mobile experience along with tech partners Qualcomm and Trigger. The game was created with Qualcomm's Vuforia mobile-vision platform, which has "technology breakthrough" features that allows users to build their own play spaces using everyday objects.

The app essentially turns the packaging into a virtual reality soccer field, where players try to flick a ball into the fry box, which serves as a goal. The game also uses other real-world objects in view as a way to bounce the ball off them to avoid increasingly difficult obstacles. Points are scored by bouncing off or moving the ball around the obstacles. Points are tallied by country, and players can share their scores via social media.

The massive global effort comes after the chain hired its first Chief Digital Officer Atif Rafiq. "Our digital vision at McDonald's is to bring an entirely new level of everyday convenience and fun to the world, and our augmented reality app is just one example of how we are bringing fun to our customers' lives," said Mr. Rafiq. "We are very excited about the numerous opportunities in front of us to bring even more innovative digital experiences to our customers in ways only McDonald's can do."

Artists commissioned for the artwork on the fry boxes include David Spencer from Australia; Eduardo Kobra from Brazil;Tes One from the U.S.; Hua Tunan from China; Skwak from France; Doppel from Japan; Egor Koshelev from Russia and Adele Bantjes from South Africa.