McDonalds Mega Mac

A successful use of the World Cup

September 98: a few weeks after Frances victory over Brazil, McDonalds and their agency BDDP & TBWA used the fame, popularity and smooth head of Fabien Barthez for a campaign to promote the Mega Mac. For its re launch the product was called the burger of sportsmen, since with its four pieces of meat it was aimed at people with large appetites. Having used Michael Jordan in 1997, Mc Donalds, as partners in the World Cup and the French football team , had wanted to be the first brand to mount a campaign using one of the French team. But they did not want to be considered opportunist. The gamble paid off thanks to a creative and eye catching campaign ('the kiss' on television, 'The prayer' on posters) and Mega Mac exceeded commercial goals.


In September 1998 McDonalds suggested a campaign for the Mega Mac, a non-permanent product in McDonalds range. This burger was larger and more expensive than the others: it would allow McDonalds to increase the value of their transactions.

Since the Mega Mac had already appeared in restaurants in February 97, a re-launch was now needed to give the Mega Mac greater staying power than in the campaign of 97.


To increase turnover and profitability of McDonalds restaurants, reaching a strategic threshold of 200 Mega Macs sold per 1000 transactions (one transaction = one till receipt.)

Strategies and working of the campaign


To position the Mega Mac in the market as the Burger of sportsmen intended for large appetites.

In July 98 France awaited a happy event: The World Cup. McDonalds immediately saw public interest and signed a partnership with the French team. As they went along the French teams good results kept the association between the Mega Mac and football in peoples minds.

In September the agency recommended capitalizing on the fame of the French team who had won the World Cup two months previously on three conditions:

  • To be the first brand to feature a member of the French team in a campaign
  • To choose the player
  • To avoid accusations of opportunism by being creative.

Thanks to the ritual of the kiss on his shaven head Fabien Barthez became the mascot of the French team. His personality made him one of the most popular players in the team. It seemed obvious to the agency to associate this man with the product.

Fabien Barthez became the spokesman for the Mega Mac which carried the fortunes of McDonalds.

It remained only to put in motion a creative strategy worthy of this great name.

The concept was to play on the head of Barthez and the famous kiss.

Media plan

The media chosen for the period 3-20 September were:

  • one TV spot of 30' reducing to 15'
  • a 4x3 poster campaign
  • point of sale advertising at McDonalds

Results of the campaign

Quantitative :

Greater turnover, more profit and more sales than predicted.

255 Mega Mac sold per 1000 transaction, 49% more than in February 97

Increased turnover and profit for McDonalds restaurants of +4.1% and +344% respectively compared to the first launch in 97.

Qualitative :

A creative campaign which people noticed and talked about.

An attribution score of 79% was the best Ipsos score of 1998 in all sectors.

The success of the campaign in publicizing Mega Mac led to a new campaign centered on Barthez being developed in March 99 (a film called 'Shaving')

The Barthez magic worked

The Mega Mac campaign is proof that endorsement of a product by a World Cup star, if it is creative and innovative (the first brand to use one) is a safe bet for effectiveness.

ZAP from Yoplait: How to stir up a fermented market

This document contains information from an article from the CB News No. 543, 26th October 1998, with the kind permission of Christian Blachas and Emmanuelle Fradet. It is completed with information provided by the agency in its presentation dossier.

With the flavored yogurt market losing its momentum, Yoplait zaps the end of the family meal with its new yogurt, which can be eaten without a spoon, and therefore away from the table.

Who? Yoplait

What? To become brand leader in the standard flavored yogurt market.

How? The launch of Zap, the first yogurt in a sachet

With what? TV and poster advertising campaign

With whom? McCann Erickson (advertising) and Logic Design (packaging)

How much? FFr16 million gross on advertising

Result? +12.7% in Yoplaits turnover on the flavored yogurt market in one year.

1.    Objective: To be market leader of flavored yogurts

On this supermarket aisle there is hustle and bustle According to studies, 95% of hyper-market customers go to this aisle every visit (1) and not just to look, as 80% leave with at least one product in their trolley. Chilled desserts, a sector with FFr23 billion in turnover in 1996 represents a very dynamic market with a year on year growth rate of 5.3% in comparison to 1995.

An interesting sector, as new products are frequently being launched onto the market. But there is one problem: yogurt, the biggest segment of dairy products in France, with a turnover of FFr8.8 billion in 1996, sales were sliding. Or to be more exact, the flavored yogurts, which represented 11.9% of the yogurt markets sales. In fact sales were in free fall, down 10% compared to 1995. 'However flavored yogurts remain the second market segment of fresh dairy products', explains Hlne Roux, Product Manager for Zap from Yoplait. 'Unfortunately retailers own brands continue to increase their market influence and the major brands, Yoplaits Fructos, Danones Kid and Nestls Yoco only compete during promotions, robbing the market of any exciting competition'. As a direct consequence, investment in advertising is stagnant, increasing across all brands in 1996 to FFr19.4 million gross

Flavored yogurts, 75% of which are purchased by households with children, were gradually losing interest. This was as much the case for consumers as for retailers. Although bought mainly for children 50% of flavored yogurts are consumed by adults. The major brands have tried as well as can be expected to give more punch to the sector. Danone introduced a 'creative' version of Kid, with an accompanying small dish containing chunks of fruit or cereal; Fructos repositioned itself as the only yogurt flavored with fruit juice; Senoble joined forces with Haribo to launch the strawberry flavored yogurt Tagada In short, each one tried to differentiate itself from the others on the market.

In vain: the market remained stable, with no increase in the number of consumers and the brands retained their positions, only making an impact on the competition during price promotions. In 1997 the flavored yogurt market collapsed even more, only just reaching 21 000 tons and turnover of FFr960 million (-8.7% in volume and

6.7% in value)

The time had come for existential questions: Stay or go? Not an easy decision as Yoplait did have a good market share, as was the case for the three major brands (2). Yoplaits Fructos accounted for 28.8% of the market in terms of volume in 1996, whilst Danones Kid had 18.7% and Nestls Yoco 21.5% (respectively 28%, 20.1% and 21.6% in financial terms).

'We therefore had no choice if we wanted to remain in the market than to create market value by trying, once and for all to become market leaders', continues Hlne Roux.

2.    Resources: FFr16 million to kill off the little spoon

With a clear aim in mind, it only remained to find a solution. Having completed some studies, two strong tendencies in French society leapt out at Yoplait: the increasing amount of snacking and the explosion of the mobile phone market. Nothing to do with yogurt? 'Wrong' comments Jacques Hervouet, Commercial Director at McCann Erickson.

'In fact this indicated the presence of a McDonalds generation, ready to break free from eating traditions'. 'We then only had to create a new product which would correspond with these tendencies towards snacking and being on the move', continues Hlne Roux.

'This all came back to adding value in two ways: habit and pleasure', continues Renaud Degon, Director of Strategic Planning at McCann Erickson. So with added value, the price per kilo of the product would rise and so there would be an increase in turnover

Snacking and being on the move: the two main sales features of the product were established. Yoplait had experience in this area already, having launched the Petits Filous with straws on the petit-suisse sector (that were now called Petits Filous Tubs), and in the yogurt drinks segment, they had launched Yop. These products were aimed at different target groups, with the former for small children and the latter for adults. As for the 'medium' sized (aged between 7 and 12), they found themselves 'orphans' in the yogurt world.

Not for long - as Yoplait decided to launch a product aimed at them. The aim: a yogurt, not to drink, but to swallow, greedily, without a spoon. The yogurt sachet weighing 90g (compared to 125g for a pot) is born.

'We originally envisaged launching under the brand name Pocket Fructos so that we could capitalize on our brand. But this posed a problem: we risked reducing the added value of this new product. To fully optimize the novelty, we decided to create a new brand: Zap', explains Hlne Roux. Zap as in to zap, of course Price per kilo: FFr22 compared with an average of FFr6 for standard flavored yogurts.

September 1997: Zap appeared on the shelves for the first time. The launch of this yogurt in a sachet attracted major retailers. The availability in shops grew steadily and in December 1997 Zap was available in 60% of large retailers, which account for 74% of total retail turnover (3). In short, the time had come to launch the advertising campaign.

A double objective: image and volume

  • To create a new category in the mind of the consumer: yogurts without spoons
  • To encourage people to try it

McCann Erickson performed studies to decide on which tactic to take. 'Two discoveries came out of our meetings with consumers: firstly that mothers can no longer manage to keep children at the table. So fairly often children skip the end of the meal and mothers feel guilty that they havent given their child enough milk', continues Renaud Degon. 'Now we had a product which would allow children to consume a dessert elsewhere and provides what mothers feel is most lacking in their childrens diets: milk', explained J. Hervouet.

Deciding against an evidential campaign (a film showing children eating Zap outside), McCann Erickson suggested the idea of symbolically showing the arrival of the sachet yoghurt on the market with a fact: the death of the spoon (the spoon is yesterdays news).

'The choice of media was self-evident: television to demonstrate the product and posters because, of course, it is an outdoor product', concludes Renaud Degon.

Zap appeared on the TV screens on the 16th January 1998, with two clips of 30 and 20 seconds directed by Pascal Chaumeil (production: Quad). The defunct little spoon, which is thrown out the window, plays the star part.

From 21st January 1998 the billboards displayed, along with the fossils of the yogurt spoon, two slogans which left nothing in any doubt: 'No future' and 'End of the reign' (165 showings of 30 and 20 second clips; 6236 boards, in pairs, in all towns with over 50 000 inhabitants). Total budget: FFr10.6 million for television and FFr5.4 million for the outdoor campaign (4).

3.    Results: +12.7% in Yoplaits turnover on the market

'No other advertising campaign took place. We had planned a series of promotional events in stores, but they were not needed. Sales escalated from the appearance of the advertising to such an extent that we didnt need to use any other techniques', comments Hlne Roux.

On the shelves, Zaps arrival did not go unnoticed. Without doubt because McCanns advertising had been seen, by children as well as by mothers. The post-tests prove it (5). The recognition rates for the TV ads (interviewees claiming to have seen the campaign) were 78% amongst children and 52% amongst mums (average for children 81% and 46% for mothers). And those who had seen the clips didnt forget them: 54% of children and 30% of mothers remembered one or more details of the clip (average 35% for children and 15% for women).

It was the same story for the poster campaign: 54% of children and 23% of mums were able to recollect details (average 35% for children and 15% for mothers).

'We are all the more proud because this campaign did not resort to using the methods for reaching children, with neither comic book characters, nor cartoons', continues J. Hervouet. 'All the more proud because the appearance of the advertising campaign coincided with soaring sales (from 10 tons per day during the first week of January 1997 to 86 tons at the time of the outdoor campaign). And this development did not suffer a downturn, as in June 1998, sales were still at 74 tonnes per day' Had the launch of the sachet yogurt revitalized the flavored yogurt sales? too early to tell. The fact remains that Zap seems to be a real success (6). The new brand from Yoplait had gained a presence in the shops very quickly.

Available in 83% of French hyper-markets and supermarkets in August 1998 (accounting for 90% of total retail turnover), Zap alone holds 3% of the flavored yogurt market in terms of volume but when taking into account its price per kilo, in terms of value it holds 8.1%'. There was no noticeable cannibalization of Yop or the Petits Filous Tubs', concludes H. Roux. Final result: Zap made Yoplait market leaders on the flavored yogurt shelves (6). By the end of August 1998, taking into account all their brands, Yoplait held 37.5% of the flavored yogurt market in volume terms and 41.2% in terms of value, compared with 28.9% and 28.5% in 1997.

At the same time, Danone retained 22.8% of volume and 24% of value (compared with 20.8% and 23.8%). And Nestl pulled out of the market. So Zap re-launched its campaign with repeats in September 1998 for FFr9 million gross.

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  1. Marketing Book, Secodip, 1997
  2. Nielsen, Annual accumulation 1997
  3. Nielsen, December 1997
  4. Secodip
  5. Post test Ipsos TV and posters (752 people, groundwork 5th and 13th February 1998)
  6. Nielsen with annual accumulation end August 1998 

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