This is one of the smartest and most creative ideas I have seen in recent times.
To some extent, the idea was first used in a rudimentary form by an NYC-based Latin American restaurant named Comodo.
In the case of Comodo, they added an Instagram-centric call-to-action on the restaurant’s menu, to let people search for the hashtag and then get inspired to order from those pictures too, besides what’s written in the menu. McDonald’s idea goes many steps ahead, by literally taking all those pictures from social media to an in-store display!
That the Brazilian agency DM9DDB (from Sao Paulo) even considered that the menu display in a fast-food store could do with a change is the first step towards the idea. They found a need and turned it into an opportunity.
The second is admitting that the brand, these days, is not what the brand says/thinks about itself. It is more of what people say it is. And when people are proudly showcasing the brand in their personal social feeds, the brand could so much more than merely following or liking them on the same social platform.
DM9DDB Sao Paulo created a cycle, between customers’ love for McDonald’s and McDonald’s acknowledging that gesture with something special.
The smartest part about this campaign is that the agency has thought through the whole thing carefully. They did not just pick up photos off Instagram and used them for the menu display in stores. They wrote to people who used hashtags of assorted McDonald’s food items in their photos via Instagram direct message, sought permission to use the photo and also asked for a personal ID to confirm their identity! And only then did those photos go up in the store menu.
Of course, once you see a real person holding a real food item in an Instagram photo on the menu in a busy fast-food joint, you’d want to share your photo too, in the hope that you may go up on the menu! Brilliant idea, smartly executed!