McDonald's honors 'hamburger menu' creator with Reddit takeover
- McDonald's is celebrating the inventor of the "hamburger menu," the three-bar icon on websites that shows a navigation drop-down when clicked, with a brand takeover of Reddit, according to Reel Chicago. Reddit's hamburger menu will look like a cheeseburger on Dec. 3, the birthday of hamburger menu inventor Norm Cox.
- As part of the promotion, McDonald's will offer discounts through its mobile app to customers who tap on the hamburger menus on the mobile websites of Reddit and McDonald's. Reddit's alien mascot, Snoo, is dressed up as McDonald's Hamburglar character throughout the one-day campaign.
- McDonald's created a video starring Cox that salutes his work, while additional content will be posted to Reddit's and McDonald's social media channels. McDonald's will host an "Ask Me Anything" session at 3 p.m. Eastern to let Reddit users pose questions to Cox. Omnicom's We Are Unlimited and IPG's Golin developed the campaign, Ad Age reported.
McDonald's hamburger menu campaign on Reddit is well-designed to match the community spirit of the content-sharing site, where advertisers still need to tread carefully to avoid detracting from the user experience and alienating visitors. By honoring designer Norm Cox and including him in the site's classic "Ask Me Anything" session, McDonald's is engaging Reddit users with its brand in the style of the website. However, the campaign still managed to irritate some Reddit users who posted complaints about the site accepting marketing campaigns like this.
Still, the campaign likely will boost downloads for McDonald's mobile app, which is required to respond to the burger chain's offer of free food and discounts. McDonald's doubled the pace of downloads and registered users for its mobile app in Q3 2018, helping to drive more transactions, CEO Steve Easterbrook said last month in a conference call with investors and analysts. At that time, the app had been downloaded about 60 million times, giving the burger chain a database of customer behavior that provides insights into purchase intent. The McDonald's app ranks No. 4 in the food and drink category of Apple's App store, behind food-delivery services Uber Eats, DoorDash and GrubHub.
McDonald's has 13,200 subscribers on Reddit, where discussion centers on news related to the burger chain, including a recent report about a U.K. study that found fecal matter on every touchscreen at eight McDonald's restaurants. This kind of frank commentary demonstrates why brands need to appeal to Reddit users by responding to negative publicity, addressing complaints and trying to shape public discussion in an authentic fashion without coming off as promotional or corporate.