McDonald’s India Asking Youth To Ditch Their Smartphones Is A Tough Ask

#KuchPalOffline campaign by McDonald’s India is urging youth to put down their smartphones for a while and enjoy offline moments while having McDonald's Sharing Pack


A smartphone is our best friend today, specially for the youth. From listening to music to updating status and checking out what friends are doing, we are always hooked to the five inch screen. In fact, walk into any place, be it a restaurant, coffee joint, or a mall we always have one eye fixed to the screen, no matter who we are with. At times it feels like we have become slaves to the online world and missing out on the fun the real world has to offer.

Fast food joint McDonald’s India is all set to change this behaviour with a not so new idea. Conceptualised by Leo Burnett, McDonald’s latest campaign #KuchPalOffline urges youth to give their smartphones rest for a while and share quality offline time while enjoying its newly launched sharing packs.

To start with the brand has launched a TVC which showcases various situations, wherein youngsters are seen constantly on their smartphones even as their friends ask them to come offline and enjoy the real world – be it celebrating an impromptu birthday party at midnight or making friends in the real world. Lighthearted and catchy music accompanies the simple narrative that reiterates the message of the brand. The film ends by showcasing the popular fare from McDonald’s kitty.


In addition to the above TVC which has fetched 5K views on YouTube, the brand has launched one more video that is also projecting the benefit of #KuchPalOffline. “We want to start a conversation and a movement amongst our customers by nudging them to go #KuchPalOffline with a simple act of ‘flip to share’ rather than ‘click to share’,” added Kedar Teny, Director, Marketing and Digital, McDonald’s (West and South).

India Offline League on social media

With the target audience hooked up to social media, McDonald’s India is running a parallel initiative on social media to reach out to the youth with #KuchPalOffline. Apart from sharing the video on Facebook and Twitter, the brand launched a Twitter contest with the same hashtag #KuchPalOffline. Fans on Twitter had to tweet how long would they go offline and what would they do during that time while mentioning the city name. To get maximum reach the brand added a goodie - selected winner goes on a free adventure trip along with his four friends!

With IPL madness in the air, McDonald’s gave a twist to the competitive quotient by introducing the India Offline League. With every Twitter user tweeting about #KuchPalOffline along with his city name, the brand started tweeting cities that were leading in the contest.

Besides a microsite was also launched with the name Indian Offline League that showcased the cities that are leading the #KuchPalOffline contest and latest tweets. The microsite also showcased McDonald’s latest sharing packs and group pictures from different McDonald outlet.

Going offline is an old theme

McDonald’s attempt to show the youth what they are missing by being online 24*7 is a good idea but not unique. Smartphones and youth go hand in hand, almost every brand globally has tried this route of advising the youth to go offline and enjoy the charms of disconnecting from internet and technology. Sometime back Cinthol was promoting #AliveIsOffline - the idea was to connect to the young, live-for-the moment India that is always glued to one screen or another. The campaign did make us question our own social media habits but the irony was that the brand had to go online to tell its consumers to go offline!

#KuchPalOffline is a tough ask from the brand but the TVC has beautifully portrayed the moments that young people might be missing out. The digital leg of the campaign has helped gain more eyeballs, but with the core being focused to the joys of being offline, the brand should have more offline initiatives to engage with the youth rather than pushing for a simple Twitter contest.

Additionally the mainline idea of the campaign is to advice youth to go offline just for a while so that they can enjoy the new sharing packs, but digital has been mixing too many new things- from taking offline breaks to the offline league. There seems to be a clear case of objective mismatch between mainline and digital.

While the idea isn’t unique, it is also a tough ask to convince today’s youth to put down their smartphones for a minute and that too for having the McDonald’s Sharing Packs. Youth are ready to stand for something when it is attached to a noble cause. A branded cause is yet to click with today’s youth.

The brand is also trying to add a philosophical angle to the campaign by bringing a balance to the offline and online world but is the youth ready for such philosophical gyaan? Maybe this is why it is time when India should have millennial focused agencies, specially when it is being said that by 2020 India will be the youngest country in the world.