"McDonald's, with the help of GolinHarris, decided to leverage a multifaceted media and social media relations strategy," said Nicole Neal, US communications manager for McDonald's. "For us, the cornerstone message is celebrating families and celebrating the Happy Meal's 30th birthday."
GolinHarris is the restaurant's AOR, though it works with a number of other agencies as well.
At an event on July 17 with gymnast Shawn Johnson, McDonald's kicked off the inclusion of Teenie Beanie Babies in Happy Meals and honored the "Happiest Cities for Families in the US," including the top city and host city, Minneapolis. The company then began to ramp up communications based on the Happy Meal's birthday, which was June 19, and tapping into consumers' memories of Happy Meals and previous promotions with Ty.
"That gave us an opportunity to really reach out to lifestyle media in a big way," Neal said of the media relations strategy. "Good Morning America ran a segment on Friday [July 17] morning; we gave them a behind-the-scenes look at the Happy Meal." The overall company also provided materials to its local markets so individual locations could celebrate and do media outreach in their own way.
McDonald's also did some social media outreach to mommy bloggers and through a presence on Facebook and its Web site.