McDonald's does Motown

There's nothing like a grand finale.

Client: McDonald's (Detroit District)
PR Team: Hermanoff & Associates (Farmington Hills, MI)
Campaign: Black History Month 2000 Wrap-up Celebration
Time Frame: February to March 2, 2000
Budget: $11,700

There's nothing like a grand finale.

After a month of celebrating black history, McDonald's of Detroit wanted to end with a crescendo. The area restaurants had kicked-off Black History Month at a Motown-themed McDonald's, with radio station WMXD broadcasting live. Participating franchises donated 15 cents of each purchase of a Big Xtra! Extra Value Meal, to the Motown Historical Museum. The McDonald's owners wanted to end the month with 'something exclusive to Detroit and the legendary Motown sound,' says Georgette Johnson, an SAE with Hermanoff & Associates.

The strategy was to turn Detroits local news anchors into karaoke stars.

'Local news anchors are known by everyone, they are a part of our lives, why not see if they would be interested in having a lot of fun?' says Johnson, a former broadcaster herself. The media stars would also ensure publicity.

The agency decided on an event at the history museum that would be billed as the Motown News Review - Live in Studio A. The anchors jumped at the chance to come together as the Motown News Review, lip-synching and karaoking in the room where Motown's stars made their hits.

'We came up with a way to promote a new product - the Big Xtra! - celebrate black history and raise money for the museum,' says Vicky Free, regional marketing manager for the McDonald's Detroit district.

Letters were sent to all television stations explaining the promotion, partnership and wrap-up reception. With commitments from anchors, some 250 invitations went out to Detroit dignitaries and former Motown legends.

In addition to invitations, the press received news releases about the event.

As with an opening-night premier, the anchors arrived in limousines, stepped out onto red carpets and basked in the glow of spotlights. It was a lavish, champagne swigging, catered affair. McDonald's presented the museum with a $10,000 check and the news anchors with an award for participating.

Ten anchors took part and all four stations involved covered the event - even one station not involved ran a segment. The party made the front page of the entertainment section of the weekly Michigan Chronicle. There was radio coverage as well.

Motown luminaries like Bobby Rogers of the Miracles and members of the Vandellas, Marvelettes and the Contours attended. And though McDonald's won't reveal numbers, Free says sales were healthy for the Big Xtra! during the promotion and traffic to stores increased.

McDonald's is planning an encore performance with news anchors, and may make the Motown News Review an annual event.

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