McDonald's Invites Fans To Virtual Camp

McDonald's knows kids of all ages relish fond memories of summer camp. So it's created Camp McDonald's, a virtual offering that combines limited-time food offers, menu hacks, music performances and apparel.

There's even a purple pool float honoring Grimace, its beloved if nondescript character, for the deeply nostalgic.

It's a first for the fast-food giant, offered within its app. Musical performances come from Kid Cudi, Omar Apollo, blackbear and BIBI. Menu mash-ups include an Apple Pie McFlurry and a McFlurry sandwich. 

Kid Cudi also stars in ads promoting the experience, a fun crossover of animation and music. It's from Wieden + Kennedy New York, McDonald's agency of record. The company says it aims to connect with customers as it "playfully combines their interests in food, music and fashion with live-action animation for an experience that's uniquely McDonald's."

The introduction fits in with McDonald's increasing determination to drive sales through digital activations.

"McDonald's is one of the world's most democratized brands, so we're not only looking to participate in culture but also find ways to create it," says Tariq Hassan, chief marketing and digital customer experience officer, in its release. "No matter what camp meant to you growing up, this campaign allows you to attend Camp McDonald's without packing a bag and in a way that seamlessly marries culture and commerce."

That commitment to digital is paying off handsomely for the Chicago company. In its most recent quarter, digital sales topped $5 billion, now representing 30% of global sales.

Observers are encouraged by the success of McDonald's ongoing "Accelerating the Arches" framework, designed to better capitalize on marketing and technology investments. "The plan focuses on a unified marketing approach, a commitment to the core menu, and an emphasis on the three D's: delivery, digital, and drive-thru," writes Sean Dunlop, an analyst who follows McDonald's for Morningstar.

 "With 30% of orders coming through digital channels in the first quarter of 2022, we believe the pivot is warranted and see long-term upside through labor efficiency, improved order accuracy, and suggestive selling," especially given the industry's rising labor costs.

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