Let's take a look back at a campaign by McDonald's Canada in 2012, where corporate video was an integral component. It showcases the power of using video to gain Brand trust, or in the case of a fast food giant, to re-build buyer trust.
Before we dissect what worked and what didn’t, take a moment to check out one of the video that featured in the “Our Food. Your Questions.” campaign.
Advertising Agency: Tribal DDB, the Toronto agency
Client: McDonalds Canada
Rumors and unsubstantiated claims were circling the internet regarding the quality and source of the food McDonald’s Canada is serving as well as their overall company practices. These misconceptions included well-known urban myths such as “It’s not real beef in their burgers, 100% Beef is the brand name of the company they buy the patties from.” These rumors had been around for many years but with the emergence of health-focused and environmentally-conscious documentaries (in which the chain had been used and abused as a perpetrator in the declining health of Americans and plant Earth), as well as social media and the growing influence of the internet as a source of “truth” (regardless of the accuracy most of the information found online), McDonald’s Canada felt that it was time to put the lies to rest and rebuild buyer trust regarding the quality of their products and the integrity of their company.
“It’s not real beef in their burgers, 100% Beef is the brand name of the company they buy the patties from.”
Cleverly, they chose to fight their fight right in the middle of the battlefield - online. Their approach was 100% transparency. Rather than create a traditional ad campaign that tells their customers what they want us to know, they opened the floor and invited any and all questions. The campaign was launched via a video invitation on YouTube that directed people to the project-specific, dedicated website. (The site is still active today: https://yourquestions.mcdonalds.ca). In response to the questions they received McDonald’s Canada created multiple videos that showcased real McDonald’s employees explaining their answers. This was in addition to the queries that were answered in text and promoted across their social media channels. They engaged directly with the people who were spreading the “wrong” message about their brand, asked them to test their claims, and then invited them to become ambassadors armed with the new, honest information they received.
It was a somewhat risky move, if it appeared that one of the largest fast food chains in the world was manipulating the system to their favor, or not answering certain questions (self-editing), it could have compounded their original problem and damaged what little consumer trust the brand already had. It was a risk that paid off however and the challenge set was met with more than 20,000 questions submitted and answered, the website has garnered more than one million hits, and McDonald’s says visitors are spending an average of four and a half minutes and reading approximately 12 questions. They no doubt succeeded in getting impressive levels of interaction, but the real measure of success came in the re-education of customers and in the positive and grateful responses they received from them. No longer a giant untouchable corporation, McDonald’s is once again seen as a customer-focused and quality-focused establishment.
"...more than 20,000 questions submitted and answered, the website has garnered more than one million hits, and McDonald’s says visitors are spending an average of four and a half minutes and reading approximately 12 questions."
Reputation and trust are a fundamental part of building a brand and utilizing online community in the promotion of that brand. Openness and honestly have never been more important. By giving their customers a peek behind the curtain, a backstage pass the real goings on at the company, they proved that they had nothing to hide. Seeing and hearing real people speaking off-script (as in testimonial videos, and company culture videos) is incredibly powerful in influencing the decision to buy. The polished national commercial still has it’s place in a large company’s sales campaigns, but smart marketers in all-sizes and verticals of business’ also understand the importance of word-of-mouth. By meeting the skeptics with interactive, one on one conversations, saturated with authenticity and heart, McDonald’s Canada were able to positively change the common perception of their brand in the space of a year.
At Front Runner Films we love to think outside the box and create videos as unique as your brand. We can work with your budget to tell your story with the highest quality video production and a deep understanding of the needs of online marketing today and how those needs are evolving. Want to know more? Shoot us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or give us a call.