Sight, Sound… and Sales: Teen Romance, Hit Love Song Lifts McDonald’s Sales

December 2017

McDonald’s is one of the most well-loved brands in the Philippines and known for its fun, clever campaigns. In one of its most successful campaigns, McDonald’s worked with YouTube to test a new cinematic storytelling ad format to connect with its target audience and drive sales.


Effectively reach the teen segment where and when they are engaged

Increase sales for the Burger McDo and Crispy Chicken Sandwich


Well-crafted, creative storytelling that formed 2-part video campaign on YouTube

Creative use of music to tell the story in an engaging way

Distribution on YouTube for effectiveness and engagement


8.7M views across two video campaigns

85% average view duration (+10% benchmark)

+80% lift in cash sales for Burger McDo and Crispy Chicken Sandwich, with second campaign bringing +40% incremental sales lift than the first

The challenge

McDonald’s was set to launch an improved Burger McDo -- a beefier, tastier version of their burger that was popular with the Pinoy teen segment. Understanding teen behaviour and how particular they can be to the latest trends, McDonald’s knew that to get teens talking, thinking -- and eating! -- this new, tastier version of the burger, they needed a compelling creative campaign using video.

McDonald’s creative focus hinged on a key consumer insight based around change, that teens hate and love change at the same time. What they really want is for things to remain the same, but better. They also knew that Filipinos are naturally drawn to music and videos.

With the help of their creative agency Leo Burnett, McDonald’s decided to break the mould of the usual 30-second spot and tell the story of a teenager revisiting and recovering from the memory of a painful break-up in a 61-second video ad. Crucially, the video’s soundtrack was perfectly synced with the lyrics of a popular love song in the Philippines entitled “Tuloy Pa Rin” (“Keep Going” in English). The tagline at the end of the video ad was “Welcome change with the new Burger McDo”.

Armed with a powerful storytelling concept, McDonald’s knew that for the campaign to truly resonate with viewers, they had to watch the video almost in its entirety and with the sound turned on. McDonald’s, and their media agency, Starcom, knew that, with 95% viewability and 95% audibility for its video ads, YouTube was the right platform for its campaign.

“The music component of the video was very important, so we needed video formats with high audibility. We also needed people to watch the whole ad as the product is showcased towards the end of the ad, so viewing time and viewability were also key. These all pointed us to YouTube and why we invested so heavily on this digital platform,” says Christina Lao, Marketing Director for McDonald’s Philippines.

The campaign was launched in June 2016 and used contextual and affinity targeting. This means it was targeted to those who were most likely to relate to the video in terms of their interest in food and drinks, types of entertainment and video content with similar storylines -- like drama, love themes, TV series, and music.

Staggering results -- and a sequel

“Tuloy Pa Rin” became a major smash, hitting almost 2 million views on YouTube, as the theme of teen romance strongly resonated with Pinoy target audience, who re-discovered the hit song -- and Burger McDo -- all over again. Both characters featured in the video became instant celebrities. It was so successful that McDonald’s soon realised, through comments on social media and social listening, that the audience demanded a continuation of the ad’s storyline.

Because sequels rarely yield higher impact than the original, they were initially hesitant. But almost a year later, in April 2017, the same creative team decided to create a sequel entitled “Kaya Niya, Kaya Mo” (“She can, I can” in English). This slightly longer, 77-second video ad revisited the same characters from the last campaign, this time told from the boy’s point of view.

Music again played an integral part in the second campaign, which cleverly featured a different section of lyrics from the same song as its soundtrack. The sequel, with the campaign tagline of “Anyone can afford to be happy. Try the new Burger McSavers”, became an even bigger hit than the first, crossing 6 million views in three months.

Sight, sound… and sales!

The two campaigns, combined, generated 8.7M views over its total lifetime - seeing massive engagement with the target audience: average view duration was 85%, which meant that most viewers watched more than three-quarters of the ads’ running time.

With YouTube being the largest digital video distribution platform for both campaigns, McDonald’s experienced a phenomenal 80% lift in sales for the Burger McDo and Crispy Chicken Sandwich, with the second ad bringing in almost 40% more sales than the first.

The success of both campaigns has convinced McDonald’s Philippines they have found a platform that can help them meet both their brand and business objectives.

“We look forward to more developments and other things we can do on YouTube because we know this particular platform works for us. This is not only in terms of engagements, views or even completed views, but also in terms of sales, which is very important and a very tangible metric for a company like McDonald’s”, Lao adds.

Top takeaways for marketers:

1) Consumers will watch great, creative stories -- beyond 30 or even 60 seconds. The right recipe for a truly compelling campaign is when brands have well-crafted material and insights based on a deep understanding of their target audience. Filipinos love music and also love watching video. Knowing these, McDonald’s boldly took the risk to tell the story in a cinematic, creative storytelling format.

2) It’s all about attention: Campaigns with powerful storytelling should get the attention it deserves from its target audience. For McDonald’s, it knew that for its ad to create a lasting impression, it had to be watched in an immersive, “lean in” experience with the ad watched in its entirely, with the sound fully turned on. With industry-leading 95% viewability and 95% audibility on YouTube, stories are told and consumed in full sight, sound and motion.

Long Story Short: Tips & Trends for YouTube Bumper Ads in APAC