McDonald’s Wants The New Maharaja Mac To Be Your Social Burger. Is It Doing Enough?

McDonald's has introduced a bigger Maharaja Mac and is calling it "The Social Burger". However the brand could have done much more on digital just around the phrase, to own that tag

From gossiping, to shopping to eating – everything is social. Man is a social being, fact is brands have realized off late with consumers spending more time on social media. Brands now want to own the space while associating their product with it.

The latest one to do is McDonald’s India, a leading player in the QSR category. It is no more just a burger and fries eating space, it wants to be known as the ‘ The Social Burger’ for its new product offering – Maharaja Mac.

“Social today is synonymous with online, however the term has a much larger meaning. McDonald’s has always been focused on bringing people together to celebrate good food and the Maharaja Mac is another product that is in this vein. This burger demands your time and encourages people to be social with friends and family, despite their fast-paced lifestyle,” Kedar Teny, Director, Marketing & Digital, McDonald’s India – West and South informed Lighthouse Insights over an email.

The brand wants consumers (to be read as millennials) to look at McDonald’s not just as a take away joint or a quick eating-place but a cool hangout place with friends and families over good food (not sure if junk food can be called good food).

“Today’s consumer is so caught their lives that social media is becoming the only place that they can catch up with friends and family. McDonald’s through this proposition is creating social spaces that can help people come together and spend time over good food.”

To promote the new marketing campaign the brand has launched a set of videos along with Leo Burnett. Laced with humor, the core brand communication states that the new Maharaja Mac is a bigger burger so it will take time to finish, leading to more time for bonding and socializing, making it ‘The Social Burger.’

“Career Planning” is one such video featuring two friends having fun pulling the leg of their third friend who is undecided about his career choice. All this is happening while they are enjoying the new Maharaja Mac.

Another one shows a father-son bonding while the duo are having the new burger at McDonald’s. (Video listed at the top)

“I quite like it. Turns ‘fast’ food on its head, and with some logic too, given the size of the burger. People have been already using McDonald’s as a social meeting spot (in India, unlike how it is strictly functional outside India), like an alternate CCD. This hammers it even better, with a relevant product,” informs Karthik Srinivasan, National Lead at [email protected]

Extension of #KuchPalOffline

Launched in the early weeks of 2016, the campaign is the road ahead which the brand had embarked on last year with #KuchPalOffline. Going bold, it urged youth to let their smartphones rest for a while and share quality offline time while enjoying its newly launched sharing packs.

The brand had 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.

“We observed that our target audience loves to connect with people, but are unable to do so as they are extremely busy in the digital world. Therefore, with the ‘Kuch Pal Offline’ campaign, we encouraged customers to spend face time with each other in the real world,” Kedar said.

Insights have shown that customers demand a satiating and indulgent meal experience while dining at McDonald’s. Based on this finding, the brand has weaved the latest campaign inviting customers to spend time over good food, leading to conversations and re-creation of the small joys of life. “#ThodaTimeAur has created the context for the Maharaja Mac – the Social Burger. Through this proposition, we aim to create a social space that enables customers to enjoy a memorable dining experience at McDonald’s.”

#KuchPalOffline was a tough ask from a generation that wakes up and goes to bed with their smartphone. It won’t be an understatement if smartphone is called the best friend of today’s time and this applies across all age groups.

Additionally, McDonald’s was not the only brand vouching for going offline. 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.

Last year at the same time 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!

Digital extension of #ThodaTimeAur

On social media, apart from sharing the videos on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter the brand has shared some interesting visuals and indulged in some fun contests to build engagement.

McDonald Mc Maharaja

Further Kedar informed that the brand carried out a two pronged approach: Announce the launch of the all new Maharaja Mac, and build the campaign thought of how such a big burger gives us #ThodaTimeAur with our loved ones. “Towards this we carried out a Twitter hashtag activity #ThodaTimeAur wherein we asked our followers to tell us what they would do with the additional time the Maharaja Mac gave them. We are also experimenting with ads on social media, in particular, Instagram, to build awareness.”

Could it be more interesting rather than just asking followers? “#ThodaTimeAur could have been more imaginatively conveyed online, on social, unlike the TVCs. For instance, asking people for life situations where they wanted that moment to linger longer, using film songs (there are tons of them) where the hero and heroine can’t let go of each other etc.,” Karthik suggested.

Missed opportunity on social media

While there is some product truth but the brand has fallen short in executing social activations at a time when it is pressing the communication that it is “The Social Burger”. “I would’ve liked to see some delightful activations. They could have created an actual “Largest Burger Ever”, and invite social influencers to meet over it. Run a few contests to get people to join these influencers, and do a beautiful film out of it. Imagine the reactions from customers when a life size social burger is sitting on a table,” Prashant Kohli, Creative Director at The Glitch proposed.

#ThodaTimeAur is a safe bet from McDonald’s this time, unlike last time with #KuchPalOffline. The brand is no more telling youth to put down smartphones but asking them to spend more time at the outlet. This is a smart move by the brand to own the tag of “The Social Burger” at a time when customers anyways have a good and extended time at McDonald’s.

However a lot could have been done on just the phrase - “The Social Burger”. When the brand aims to fulfill its vision of being a sociable, relevant and contemporary food destination then why cut short budgets on social media. Prashant added -

“They should have definitely done some innovations on Twitter as well. Something on the lines of Social Burger, created from social media. Again, I am sure the creative minds thought about all this, and there has to be a reason they didn’t do it (Budgets is what I can think of).”

A missed opportunity at least on social media for McDonald’s. Any other QSR brand want to own “The Social Burger” tag - it’s open.