Agency: Delicious Design League
Challenge: After a two-year hiatus, McDonald’s reintroduced chicken strips to menus across the country. McDonald’s is hoping the new (-ish) Buttermilk Crispy Tenders will help lure back customers who are fleeing for fast-casual dining options. The tenders are accompanied by nine — nine! — dipping sauces, with on-trend flavors to target novelty-craving Millennials.
But, really, is anyone excited about chicken tenders?
What kind of dipping sauce are you?
Elevate the dipping sauces into something worth obsessing about. Chicago agency, Delicious Design League, created limited-edition illustrations that look like they were inspired by concert posters. The bold posters helped turn the sauces into identities.
A few examples:
- Sriracha mac sauce features an Asian-inspired, fiery lion with the motto, “Only passion outlives the heat.”
- Hot mustard looks like a trippy retro astronaut. “The people that dip into this sauce tend to be a rare breed, with unique taste.”
- Honey mustard is simple, bright and colorful. It’s for people who are “sweet, enthusiastic and a job to befriend.” (Yes, the last part of that is kind of negative. But we all have high-maintenance friends like that.)
The tenders and sauces have already won over a food critic from the Chicago Tribune, who wrote: “The condiment packed more heat than the Secret Service. I even gave my Buffalo sauce container its own perch.”
What the Delicious Design League said:
“In the end, over 10,000 posters were printed and shipped to select stores nationwide, creating a buzz that rippled through both the poster world and the food industry alike.”
Lessons to be learned:
- Create exclusivity — Delicious Design League only created 10,000 real-life posters that were spread throughout the country. Fans waited in line to get the posters, which they bragged about on social media.
- But don’t burn your fans — However, exclusivity can go too far. Some fans ranted on social media about the lack of posters, but that was nothing compared to the media firestorm McDonald’s created during a limited release of Szechuan sauce aimed at the hard-core fans of the hit show, “Rick & Morty.”
- Pick the right medium — There is no doubt that McDonald’s and its partner agencies kicked around a ton of ideas to promote the tenders. They likely landed on posters because it’s different. A real-life object can stand out in a digital world — and it doesn’t hurt that the posters were part of a fan experience.