It was the sauce that drove fans of the TV show Rick and Morty wild. But what most people didn't know is that the Szechuan sauce was also a powerful marketing tool for McDonald's.
The fast-food giant leveraged the sauce's popularity—and the anticipation for the next season of Rick and Morty—to boost downloads of its app. And it seems to have worked. McDonald's app saw a surge in downloads in the days leading up to and after the release of the sauce.
So, if you're looking for a creative way to boost your app's downloads, why not consider a similar marketing stunt?
Introducing McDonald's Szechuan Sauce
McDonald's Szechuan Sauce made a comeback for a limited time in October of 2017. The sauce was first introduced in 1998 as part of a promotional campaign for the Disney movie Mulan.
This time around, McDonald's leveraged its mobile app to make the sauce available exclusively to app users. They shipped 20 million packets of Szechuan sauce to all of its restaurants in the U.S.
The goal was to drive downloads and usage of the mobile app. And it seems to have worked, as the app saw a massive uptick in downloads during the promotion.
The App-Only Promotion and Mobile Exclusivity Strategy
When McDonald's decided to bring back their Szechuan sauce for a limited time, they knew that they needed to do something big to get the word out. And that's where their app-only promotion and mobile exclusivity strategy comes in.
McDonald's made their Szechuan sauce available exclusively on their mobile app. This was a huge incentive for customers to download the app and gave the company a chance to gather more valuable information about their consumers.
McDonald's also leveraged the sauce's buzzy nature to create content for TV, radio and "The Sauce podcast." This helped them reach a wider audience and generate even more downloads for their app.
Integrating Loyalty Rewards and Mobile Apps
McDonald's knows the importance of a loyalty rewards program. In fact, they were one of the first fast-food chains to offer one. And they're continuing to innovate by integrating their loyalty rewards program into their mobile app.
This is a great move, because it makes it easy for customers to track their rewards and access them easily. In February, McDonald's app was the number one downloaded app in the food and drink category, and it's likely that this surge was due to the release of their Szechuan sauce.
So if you're not already using the McDonald's app, now is a great time to download it and take advantage of all the rewards they have to offer.
Analyzing the Impact of McDonald's Szechuan Sauce Promotion
Analyzing the impact of the Szechuan sauce promotion reveals how McDonald’s leveraged exclusive mobile access to boost its app. The limited-time sauce offer was only accessible through the app, which encouraged people to download and register for it - a move that reflects the company’s recognition of consumer behavior change and understanding of how to use mobile technologies to their advantage.
It was a smart move in terms of gaining more user numbers for the app, because people had to sign up in order to get access to this exclusive limited-time offer. This tactic created a lot of buzz and used the power of scarcity and exclusivity to draw people in. People could also get rewards for loyalty, such as free food items and discounts, by simply checking into their local restaurant on the app.
By providing exclusive mobile access, McDonald’s managed to engage users with their product and encourage them to download and use their app, which ultimately resulted in an impressive increase in user numbers.
Looking to the Future of McDonald's App Strategies
You might be wondering what other strategies McDonald's can use to boost its app in the future.
Their most recent idea, to leverage their Szechuan sauce as a reward for people who download the app, certainly has potential. Although it was met with some criticism from fans of Rick and Morty, it’s clear that McDonald’s is willing to experiment with different tactics to drive more app downloads. They could also rollout more mobile ordering options and self-serve kiosks in stores across the country as a way to make it easier for customers to use the app.
McDonald’s is constantly looking for new opportunities to stay ahead of the competition when it comes to mobile marketing. As they continue to refine their strategies, they will no doubt come up with even more creative ways of leveraging their mobile exclusivity to drive even more engagement with their app.
McDonald's recent app-only promotion is a great example of how a brand can leverage mobile exclusivity to boost its app. By making the promotion available only through its app, McDonald's was able to drive more downloads and increase engagement with its loyalty rewards program. The campaign was a success, and McDonald's is likely to continue using app-only promotions in the future.