Behind 'The People's Launch' of All Day Breakfast at McDonald's

August 4, 2020 – 12:16 am

McDonald's decision to serve All Day Breakfast may have been a surprise to some customers, but the announcement itself was a well-orchestrated blitz, one that shows how the massive company is trying to move nimbly and take some risks with its messaging.

Credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

McDonald's had been testing the idea of serving Egg McMuffins, hotcakes and hashbrowns beyond its typical 10:30 a.m. cutoff for roughly four months. Meanwhile its U.S. marketing team was tinkering behind the scenes, with help from two key partners, to prepare for the day that the franchisees - or "owner operators, " in McDonald's-speak - signed off on moving all-day breakfast from test mode to a national stage.

This week, as soon as a group of owner operators voted on the plan, the marketing effort was quickly put into effect. It included a heavy use of unpaid media impressions on Twitter.

With help from Golin, a McDonald's partner since Ray Kroc's early days, McDonald's went back as far as 2006 and found tweets from people hankering for all-day breakfast. They created GIFs and other elements to reply to more than 20 of them and let them know their social media requests were being answered.

"Customers were saying to us 'Hey, McDonald's, this is the next big thing. This is what we want from you, '" said McDonald's USA Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl, whose favorite McDonald's breakfast item is the original Egg McMuffin. "This idea came from our customers. We said this really is the people's launch, that's what this is all about."

The brand's Twitter page quickly filled up with missives, including replies to tweets from years ago. The brand used messages from celebrities, including Sinbad, Fox Sports' Erin Andrews, Olympic athlete Lolo Jones and All Time Low guitarist Jack Barakat in the conversation. And days later, it is still replying, one by one, to people's tweets about breakfast.

In all, the plan is to reply on Twitter to all 88, 000 unique accounts that have sent messages about all-day breakfast at McDonald's, said Patti Temple Rocks, managing director of Golin's Chicago office.

Her team, with help from Twitter and Sprinklr, found 334, 000 tweets mentioning all-day breakfast at McDonald's and has been researching to find the most "engageable" accounts to send customized messages to. On Tuesday, 40 to 50 people were part of the team sending and monitoring the intial tweets, she said.


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