Outlook is cloudy for McDonald’s mood app

If you’ve been on YouTube this morning, you’ve probably been boinked squarely between the eyes by the McDonald’s home page takeover.

If you follow the link, it’s an apparently ambitious digital campaign that looks like its merely fails in the execution.  

The “food for any mood” execution attempts to share consumers’ moods across Australia, feed in real time data such as the weather, mix it with localised information before chucking in a soupcon of social media.

Or that’s how it seems.

But either it’s fallen over, or it’s a bit of a shoddy attempt to con consumers that it’s a better execution than it actually is.

Once you tell the application how you’re feeling (the choice include the likes of stoked, excited, starving, chuffed and so on…) by clicking on a funky little avatar, you get the chance to see what the rest of Australia thinks – and why that might be.

Its theory includes something about a forthcoming local event and one on the weather.

  • Apparently WA is feeling Zzzz because “it’s a cloudy day”
  • The Top End is starving because “it’s a cloudy day”
  • NSW is undecided because “it’s a cloudy day”
  • NSW is “game on” because “it’s a cloudy day”
  • Victoria is starving ebcause “it’s a cloudy day”
  • Tasmania is Zzzz because “it’s a cloudy day”
  • SA is Game On becasue “it’s a cloudy day”

You get the idea – if all that cloud turns to rain then Australia’s drought emergency is over forever.

And curiously enough, whichever emotion you choose, the application tells you that you apperently share it with 9% of the population. And with 13 options to choose from, that adds up to 117%.

The bells and whistles are similarly lacking when it comes to the social media element. Choosing the Twitter option for instance simply generates the somewhat spammy message “Thinking about which McDonald’s Meal Deal goes with my current mood”, plus a link to the McDonald’s site.

Now the charitable possibility is that this is indeed a brave attempt to blend real time info with user input and that the feed has broken or malfunctioned in some way.

But the more suspicious side of me wonders whether this is a case of digital dishonesty – for the five minutes or so a user might play with the site, they may not even notice that aren’t getting genuine information. And with luck they’ll have tweeted their status by then.

Pragmatically I wonder if the agency (McDonald’s usually uses Tribal DDB although I’ve not confrmed that yet) sold in a big digital idea but found itself unable to execute it with the time and budget available. Once you’ve locked in a day for a home page takeover of YouTube then your deadline is set, particularly as the digital component is part of a bigger above the line campaign around McDonald’s lunch deals which broke at the weekend.

Does it matter anyway? If the site doesn’t really do what it pretends, but fools the consumer, then perhaps it’s harmless enough?

But as this is designed to draw in the more digitally savvy punters, I’m not sure it will successfully fool them. And what will it then do to their trust in the brand?

Tim Burrowes


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