McDonald's scores big promo role with Disney

By Published on .

Effort backs videos; BK still top dog for movies

McDonald's Corp. has made a breakthrough with Walt Disney Co., as the two titans prepare to launch the largest ever entertainment-theme fast-food promotion this spring.

In late March, McDonald's will headline on a two-tier promotion including an instant-win trivia contest aimed at adults and a kid-targeted Happy Meals promotion. The entire effort surrounds Walt Disney Home Video's top-selling Masterpiece Collection of 13 videos, including "The Lion King" and "Pocahontas."

BURGER KING STILL HOT But despite McDonald's stated determination to become Disney's first fast-food choice for major family-film promotions, No. 2 Burger King Corp. has a lock on that role, at least through most of this year. Burger King scored a major success with its recent tie-in to Disney's "Toy Story."

On April 1, Burger King gets star billing as the fast-food tie-in partner for Disney's theater re-release of the animated "Oliver & Co." This summer it's also Disney's fast-food promotion partner for the much-anticipated release of the animated "Hunchback of Notre Dame," while McDonald's has not yet scored lead fast-food promotion status on any Disney films to be released this year.

But McDonald's is expected to step up its competition with Burger King for Disney partnerships throughout the year.

DISNEY'S STRENGTH

"McDonald's realizes the strength of the Walt Disney Co. and its strength with animated films and they made a conscious decision to work with us, to our mutual advantage," said Max Goldberg, VP-promotions for Walt Disney Home Video.

DDB Needham Worldwide and Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, will handle the estimated $8 million to $10 million national campaign backing the video promotion effort.

Altogether the McDonald's promotion, which includes $5 mail-in rebates on new Disney home video releases, as well as on titles currently available at retail outlets, encompasses the largest number of Disney video titles ever promoted at once.

NOT WORRIED BY BIG MAC

Burger King isn't worried. The chain says that although it doesn't have an exclusive relationship with Disney, each of its promotions has been highly successful for both companies.

"Every deal we get involved in with Disney is on a case by case basis, and when we do film tie-ins we don't have exclusive rights to all aspects of marketing the film or the video further down the line," a spokeswoman said.

The only area where McDonald's may have an edge is in targeting the entire family in its systemwide promotions. The No. 2 chain's Disney promotions primarily target kids through Burger King Kids Club programs.

Copyright January 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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