McDonalds Costa Rica Claims Fries Emoji For Its Own

Fast food chain sends iconic red carton fries emoji to the top of peoples most-used list

Advertising spend can be cut for many reasons. In a recession or other times of financial pressure — e.g., when resources are urgently required in other areas of the business — advertising may seem like a discretionary activity or a dispensable luxury. Because the advertising budget is typically non-fixed, it can be diverted quickly at short notice. In some cases, poor budget planning or extra spending due to seasonality (or certain high reaching events) may run the budget dry for some time until the brand’s next allocation of funds.

Every fries emoji across social media and system software (IOS, Facebook, Android, Google, Twitter and WhatsApp) happens to be a variation of a McDonald’s red carton – the perks of being an iconic category leader.

Working with digital agency Orson, San José, the fast food giant decided to harness the power of this ubiquitous symbol on World Emoji Day, 17 July 2020, inviting Costa Ricans to get the fries emoji the top of their Frequently Used List. People then just had to send McDonald’s the evidence and won real fries as a reward.

Cristhian Fuentes, general manager at Orson, told Contagious: ‘McDonald’s is the category leader, and its products global icons as well. So we are always looking for creative executions to prove it and drive conversation around those facts. Emojis are part of the global language. When we realised the fries emoji looks exactly like McDonald’s, we had to do something with that observation.’ A digital-led integrated campaign ran in the three days running up to World Emoji Day, raising awareness of the promotion. This consisted of social media posts (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), CRM mobile app and programmatic paid media.

Results / According to the agency, people sent over 650,000 fries emoji-based messages and it was a trending topic on Twitter (#PapitasMc). Fries went from number 85 to the number one most used emoji in just one day, and it became the top emoji on over 150,000 smartphones’ Frequently Used List, according to Sprout Social.


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