How McDonalds’ Latest Campaign Takes Advantage of Micro-Moment Marketing

What’s in a name?

It sounds crazy to run an advert that never mentions the name of the company, let alone a series of them, however, this is exactly what fast-food giant McDonald’s has done. Letting impulsive curiosity, the star-power of actress Mindy Kaling and organic Google search results do that job for them.

The adverts, developed for McDonald’s by creative agency We Are Unlimited, refer to the restaurant only as “The place where Coke tastes so good.” The ad urges the viewer to Google where that is, as, as Ms Kaling repeats, they simply can’t say the name of the company during the advert (scroll down to watch the advert).

Deborah Wahl, chief marketing officer of McDonald’s America, claims that the company has not paid Google for any of the results that occur from a “The place where Coke tastes so good” search. Nor were the team given “any tricks on search or anything.” Indeed when such a search is made, there is no official sign of the Golden Arches. Instead, after a few articles talking about the campaign itself, there are pages upon pages discussing the decades-old question as to why Coke tastes better from McDonald’s. Apparently it’s something to do with special refrigeration and how the chain stores the drink syrup in stainless steel tanks.

What makes this campaign so effective, however, is how well it taps into the zeitgeist of millennials. As Deborah Wahl puts it, “They are very influenced by word of mouth and what their peers say” and so are more influenced by things they find online. Not only this but it harnesses the impulsive curiosity that has developed with the rise of the smartphone. If only partial information is provided, then it’s all too easy to grab your phone to find your answer. Unbranded ads revel in this concept, teasing the audience with the fact that there is information missing and creating the itch of not knowing – similar to the itch we get about a half-remembered song lyric or movie title.

Is there a future in this sort of advertising?

The effective and cheap nature of this campaign in particular relies heavily on the existing discussion regarding Coke and McDonalds, without it, the ads are useless. Any company wishing to do something similar would need to find just as strong of an organic search presence. It also goes without saying that people may try and interfere with the campaign through the use of search advertising techniques, however Wahl has said that McDonald’s is prepared for that possibility, but believes the strength of the existing discussion will protect it.

The power of micro-moment marketing

Marketing methods have adapted over the past few years in response to what Google refers to as micro-moments and this is a key example of its effect in the marketplace. For those that aren’t as familiar, micro-moments are moments where consumers want to perform an action immediately. We split this down into the following request categories:

  • “I want to know
  • I want to buy
  • I want to see
  • I want to go”

With these answers quite literally at our fingertips with technology and search advertising, it’s no surprise that advertisers have ditched traditional marketing methods, and are now opting for inbound marketing strategies to connect better with consumers.

To find out more about inbound marketing or to discuss your latest advertising campaign, contact us today on 0121 321 2828 or email


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