McDonald’s #CheersToSochi Links Fans/Teams/Protests

McDonald’s Sochi 2014 social campaign asks fans to send good luck messages to athletes and teams using the hashtag #CheersToSochi.


Olympic fans, athlete supporters and fast food consumers can tweet messages (orr send them via the www.cheerstosochi.com website) which are then shared through a digital display in the McDonald’s within the Athletes’ Village where they can not only view and read the messages, but also print them out onto ribbons which can then be worn as a branded bracelet.


Athletes can also tweet their appreciation back to lucky fans.


The initiative was launched around one month before the strat of the Games and after 10 days of competition, 4,700 cheers had been sent with US hockey player Patrick Kane, Canadian hockey player Drew Doughty, US speed skater Shani Davis and Canadian figure skater Patrick Chan being the most common names in the cheers.


The campaign has been built in multiple languages to allow people to cheer teams and athletes from right around the world.


The core social strand of the campaign is promoted through a 60-second online video.



McDonald’s are also rolling out a Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic US TV commercial with the tagline ‘The Greatest Victories Are celebrated With A Single Bite’.



Other elements of the McDonald’s campaigns include donating a new children’s playground to the city of Sochi designed to meet the needs of children with disabilities, bringing kids together in Sochi for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the Games first-hand via its Champions of Play program.


Fans and athletes in Sochi itself for the Games are being served by the McDonald’s Olympic Champion Crew – a 350-strong, hand-picked crew from the best restaurant staff across selected on their status as McDonald’s All Stars or Employees of the Month in their hometown restaurants.




Equal rights campaigners leveraged the McDonald’s campaign by co-opting the hashtag in order to protest against Russia’ anti-gay legislation.


These groups effectively hijacking the campaign hashtag and sett up a protest website using the URL – http://cheerstosochi.org/ and closely mimicking the McDonald’s creative approach.


This campaign urged people across the world to tweet to air their view that McDonald’s and the IOC itself were betraying the ideals of the Olympic charter by supporting the Sochi Winter Olympics and by the halfway point of the Games, 48,000 protest messages had been sent.


Far more than the original campaign has generated thus far.


Yet, perhaps the brand isn’t as unhappy about the activist invasion as one might initially presume.


After all, this inventive campaign has been designed to encourage engagement and showcase consumer opinion and messages – and this is just what has happened.


While McDonald’s hasn’t yet directly addressed the activists’ leveraging of its campaign, its director of social media Rick Wion emphasised that ‘It is important to remember that social media is all about a conversation. And that understandably the LGBT community is focusing its conversation on the Russian legislation and we respect everyone’s rights to express their opinions.’


McDonald’s also issued an inclusionary corporate statement saying:


‘Activists are targeting Olympic sponsors to voice their concerns regarding the Russian LGBT legislation and McDonald’s  would like to re-emphasise its support for human rights and believes the games should be open to all, free of discrimination.’


McDonald’s has a 38 year with Olympics and this #CheersToSochi initiative, which follows London 2012’s real time, reactive ‘We All Make The Games’ campaign, arguably marks the first time the fast food brand has primarily focused on social media as the epicentre for its marketing and promotional work.


The global burger giant is one of several IOC sponsors of the Winter Games focusing their activation primarily on social media and monitoring the games and the stories around the event around the clock and then engaging as live with relevant content across its Vine, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook channels.


‘McDonald’s takes tremendous pride in our 38-year partnership of the Games, and we share in the International Olympic Committee’s passion for bringing the world together,’ explains McDonald’s chief brand officer Steve Easterbrook.


‘This Olympic experience gives fans the ability to make personal connections with athletes in Sochi in a way they’ve never had before.’




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