McDonalds Goes Interactive via Mobile

McDonalds has long had a digital billboard at London’s Piccadilly Circus, which claims traffic of 1.1 million visitors per week. But they’ve now redesigned it to make it interactive, with a mobile twist.

The obvious idea here would be to allow people to upload their own photos to the billboard, but there’s always a risk with user generated content, even if it’s moderated. So rather than involve the brand in compromising positions, they’ve approached it in another, interesting way.

The billboard features a series of images, which people can snap on their mobiles in combination with their friends. For instance, the one I’ve used here, features a guy “wearing” the headphones displayed on the board. Other images include objects like hats, thought bubbles and seasonal messages like “Happy Father’s Day” or just captions like “Hi Mum” and “I Love You” – kind of digital Love Hearts (Sweethearts in the US*).

Once you’ve snapped your photo, you can send it to your friends or Relies, or upload to a special Flickr page.

The billboard display also features short videos to get across the idea and a short “How To” message.

It’s a neat idea, though we’ll have to wait and see how popular it becomes. Based on the 59 current uploads on Flickr, the answer may be “not very” but it’s early days and I always applaud innovation in marketing. Unless you try new things, you don’t know if they’ll work or not.

I can’t help thinking that this idea could be made to work harder though – communication seems a little random. Perhaps they have plans to do more at street level to get the idea across. Once you kick start it and have a steady stream of tourists snapping themselves in front of the poster, it should start to get more viral. And maybe throw in a competition for best photo via Flickr.

Perhaps they have more plans afoot to make more of it all.

*Random factoid: 8 Billion Sweethearts are sold a year.

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