Local McDonald’s runs out of coffee thanks to La Hora print campaign

By Pablo Feliú

Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day, but for busy consumers in Chile, it’s also the hardest meal to fit in to their schedules.

While most Chileans used to eat breakfast at home and/or with their families, their busy schedules now make that impossible for many. In fact, a study shows that 40% of Chileans now eat breakfast on their way to work or at the office in order to arrive on time.

McDonald’s wanted to do a promotion to give free coffee to consumers on specific days, but the fast-food chain faced the challenge of how to convey the promotion to busy workers. More importantly, the company wanted to entice customers with the coffee’s colour and aroma.

McDonald’s media agency, OMD, chose Diario La Hora as the vehicle through which the promotion would be delivered. As a free, high-profile newspaper known for its creativity and innovation, La Hora was the ideal fit to accomplish McDonald’s goals.

The greatest challenge was how to convey the most important attribute of that first cup of morning coffee – its aroma. La Hora went on a search to locate coffee aroma essences that were compatible with press printing machines, thereby allowing them to deliver that scent to readers.

On April 19, 2012, the first edition of the newspaper hit the streets of Santiago with a wonderful surprise for its readers. Changing the colours in the masthead to a brown colour to complement the coffee promotion, the front page also featured a McDonald’s ad for free coffee.

The results were immediate and impressive:

  • Curious readers were seen walking the streets, holding the special front page to their faces and smelling the coffee aroma.

  • On the first day the newspaper was delivered, McDonald’s broke its record for sales of related products and saw a 100% increase in sales.

  • On the fourth day of promotion, McDonald’s ran out of coffee.

  • McDonald’s reported that seven out of 10 customers bought additional breakfast product during the campaign’s first week.

In addition to the results that McDonald’s enjoyed directly, the campaign won the Bronze Lion award at the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival later that year.  

About Pablo Feliú

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