Beverages dominate the QSR category, being number one in sales and gross margin. To gain a strong share of the beverage market, McDonald’s created the McCafé brand name and has expanded its beverage offerings over the past five years. This put McDonald’s in a position to compete with fierce rivals like Starbucks. However, an agency-conducted survey revealed that only 17% of consumers were aware of the variety of beverages available at McDonald’s. Additionally, consumers simply didn’t think of McDonald’s as a beverage destination. Considering that people typically have four meals throughout the day, but have eight beverage breaks a day, McDonald’s had been leaving money on the table.
The agency wanted not only to raise awareness of McDonald’s many beverage choices, but also to actively raise beverage trials. We believed that once people tasted the drinks, they would remember them and be higher in their consideration for drink breaks. The idea that McDonald’s has a drink for everyone was brought to life through a two-pronged effort:
The “Own the Drink Run” campaign highlighted the large variety of beverages offered at McDonald’s, with TV, radio, transit/out-of-home, and digital media executions. The sampling program allowed customers to try beverages at an aggressively low introductory price, and the accompanying in-store merchandising created a complete McDonald’s beverage customer experience. Together, the two efforts pulled customers into the “Viewpoint,” creating awareness and demand in one short period.
Awareness of McDonald’s beverage offerings rose dramatically—by 59%. The blended McCafé beverage business grew by over 300% during the paid trial periods (in average weekly units).