McDonald’s Lebanon won the Best Social Media Strategy Award for its “Tastes of the World” campaign at the Marketing Awards Show, held in Dubai in November. In April 2013, McDonald’s Lebanon introduced three limited-edition burgers from three different parts of the world under the “Tastes of the World” campaign. Marketing co-ordinator at McDonald’s Lebanon, Alissar Younes, explains the flow of this campaign, as it started with a limited-edition Mexican burger offered at McDonald’s restaurants for three consecutive weeks, followed by the French burger, then the Asian one; each one featured for another three weeks. During the campaign, a fun social media competition took place whereby customers were invited to take a picture in front of the backdrop of any McDonald’s branches wearing the costume of the related country. They were then asked to post it onto the McDonald’s Facebook page. The person whose picture collected the highest number of votes was then entered into a draw to win an all-expenses trip for two to the related country.
Marketing director of McDonald’s Lebanon, Gabriel Abiad, speaks to Communicate Levant about the campaign from a marketing perspective. He says that “Tastes of the World” is a program that was done in other parts of the world at different times, and McDonald’s Lebanon has seen in it an opportunity to inject a little novelty and variety into the restaurants’ offerings in Lebanon and thus add excitement to customers’ experiences. “In terms of business results we exceeded through this campaign the target that we have set for each of the three parts of it,” adds Abiad. In fact, the Mexican and Asian burgers sold out in just one week.
For Ayman Itani, founder and CEO of Think Media Labs, the digital agency handling McDonald’s Lebanon’s social media platforms, the difficult part of managing a brand’s social media is integrating it into the core of its business. “McDonald’s Lebanon ties its social media activities to all of their marketing, customer support and sales processes,” says Itani. The “Tastes of the World” competition made a considerable boost in McDonald’s Lebanon Facebook page, where it increased the likes by 300 percent, the comments by 203 percent and the shares by 53 percent.
“One of the challenges of every brand is not only generating digital content, but getting people to become brand advocates,” adds Itani, who mentions the case of Joey Audi, a 15-year-old boy who participated in a McDonald’s competition to win a trip to Mexico.By creating his own Facebook page, as well as a video describing how badly he wants to go on the trip and asking people to vote for him, Joey has proved himself to be one of McDonald’s brand advocates.
With the success of “Tastes of the World” competition and with its winners coming back from their trips to Lebanon, McDonald’s Lebanon, in collaboration with agencies UM, FP7, Weber Shandwick and Think Media, launch the “Taste of Lebanon” campaign that follows the steps of the global “Tastes of the World” program, only this time with a limited-edition Lebanese burger. As a tribute to Lebanon and its culinary heritage, the campaign will last until December 13, with competitions held in stores, outdoor billboards and radio ads. “The concept of the ‘Taste of Lebanon’ campaign is based on the contrast between the perception and the reality. The burger looks foreign but ‘speaks’ Lebanese because of its local flavor. As for the execution, it’s based on a common habit among Lebanese to combine different dialects and ‘lebanize’ them. Hence the slogan ‘It looks like a burger, but it tastes Lebanese’,” says Karim Miknas, managing partner of McDonald’s Lebanon.