McDonald's Digital Promos Geotarget College Kids


Sure, many college students more or less subsist on fast food…but given the marketing barrages from a plethora of QSRs, even McDonald’s has to work at getting their attention and dollars in cost-effective ways.

Recently, McDonald’s has been employing CampusLIVE’s Surge Marketing, a college-audience-specific platform that engages students with games, challenges and content tied to chances to win prizes from brands.

CampusLIVE, founded in 2008 by then-University of Massachusetts-Amherst student CEO Boris Revsin and fellow students, has more than 100,000 registered college students who regularly engage with the activities on its destination site through school-specific sites that enable geographic targeting. (Hundreds of these have been built, and the company aims eventually to build sites for nearly all of the approximately 4,300 colleges/universities in the U.S.)



The company sends emails to students who match a brand’s desired targeting parameters to alert them to new challenges. It gets paid only for documented successful engagements, and each marketer specifies a maximum number of students who can participate in a given campaign. This, says Revsin, enables marketers to plan and adhere to a specific budget, and also provides an element of urgency for students to participate before the limit is reached. Students must use a Facebook ID to log in and participate.

For McDonald’s, CampusLIVE worked with Media Planning Group’s Mobext mobile marketing/communications arm to create customized challenges  for two promotions targeted to select New England markets.

The first, for McDonald’s’ new McCafé Peppermint Mocha espresso drink, was dubbed the “Drizzle Draw” (referring to the chocolate drizzle topping the drink). It challenged students to use a graphics app to create their own drizzle designs on a virtual McDonald’s cup, and share them through Facebook and Twitter to get friends to vote for their entries (shown in a gallery on the CampusLIVE site).

The entry drawing the most votes won free McDonald’s coffee for a year, and the 50 top “sharers” won $10 McDonald’s coffee gift certificates.

During its nine-day participation window (Dec. 2-10), the campaign drew more than 25,000 unique votes, reports Revsin.

A second -- the “McSmile” campaign now underway -- challenges students to visit their closest McDonald’s location, use a $1-any-size promotion to buy a cup of coffee, take a photo with it, upload it to CampusLIVE, and share it to drum up votes, or simply view the gallery and vote for their favorite photo.

In this case, the Nov. 11-Dec. 31 contest offers a trip for two to Miami to the person whose photo garners the most votes, and $50 worth of free coffee to the top 10 sharers.

Mobext Managing Director Phuc Truong says the CampusLIVE platform made sense for the two McDonald’s promotions because of its guaranteed reach and activation and the ability to geotarget schools that have a McDonald’s location within a specified proximity.  

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