McDonalds Free Coffee promotion; a missed opportunity

McDonalds Free Coffee promotion; a missed opportunity

McDonald’s recently ran a nationwide promotion offering free coffee to consumers for a limited 4 day run. They invested in radio, online ads, banners, social marketing; a whole range of tactics to reach their audience. I am certain that their campaigns produced plenty of people to visit a McDonald’s for a free coffee.

I am also certain that they missed a giant opportunity to engage even more people at far less a cost.

I am actually frustrated that such a marketing powerhouse did not think of leveraging the power of the deals industry. They could have obtained even better results.

I believe this is the 2nd time McDonalds ran this promotion in the past year. The investment needed to reach the amount of people they did for this promotion must have cost in the millions. Fully understanding that they need to give something away (free coffee) to get people to know about their coffee. Now,  given the nature of this promotion, 100% off, why did they not engage a deals provider to reach and engage, probably, more people? Why did they not incorporate distribution through deal providers into their campaign mix? The answer? Unfortunately, they probably did not even think about it and, even worse, their marketing agencies certainly did not bring them that option. Why would they, it would take business away from them.

Here are some plausible scenarios that could have garnered McDonalds a rather attractive ROI on their campaign:

  • Use a national daily deal company to reach millions of people. Teambuy has over 2 million subscribers, Wagjag plus Tuango in Quebec have over 3 million. I would go with a Canadian company versus Groupon on this campaign. Thus Wagjag, Teambuy and Tuango.
  • Given the scope and the brand, Mcdonald’s could have also negotiated to receive all emails from the deal sites. Do they even realize that they could have accumulated hundreds of thousands of email address through this promotion and thus continue to market to consumers going forward.
  • This could have been the largest offer in daily deals history in Canada and thus getting McDonalds even more free promotion across the country.
  • Why would a deals provider like Tuango, Wagjag, Teambuy do this if the price was free? Simply, McDonald’s would have paid them for the campaign or a price per voucher downloaded. There is still revenue to be paid even in offering a free product.
  • They could have partnered with a coupon provider like Red Flag Deals to promote the offer and reach millions of other consumers. This promo would have gone viral.
  • They could have partnered with Student Price Card to reach over 1 million students across Canada. Last time I checked the data, Students drank a ton of Coffee and FREE is in their price range. This would have gotten a chance for McDonalds to reach potentially new customers who do not see McDonalds as a choice for them…for coffee.
  • They could have partnered with Venngo to reach millions of corporate employees…yup, they drink Coffee and motivates the white collar worker off the Starbucks and Second Cup habit and into a McDonalds Coffee option.

These are but some options. Yet I do not believe that either McDonalds or their agencies ever thought of them. We need to do a better job as a whole industry to market the benefits of leveraging our services. That is why the Canadian Deals Association was started.

Using the Deals industry is NOT about offering deals. It’s about leveraging a massive distribution vehicle in a ridiculously inexpensive manner. I hope more brands start seeing that.

If any of our readers know the folks at McDonalds, let me know. I’d love to speak with them.

1 Comment