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McDonald’s Traffic Busters Campaign

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The road to automating OOH planning and buying.

A Watershed Moment

mcdonalds digital UK bridge A

The McDonald’s UK, street-side digital billboards, running changeable creative as directed by real-time data from Google Traffic, is a topic well discussed in social media and OOH related stories.  It’s old news. One week old news!

It is big news, for automating or programmatic OOH planning and account management. The ability for McDonald’s to switch its creative messaging subject to traffic changes and the time of day within a dynamic environment for each individual Outdoor Advertising unit is a watershed moment.

We were hoping we had a scoop of a second watershed moment. One of truly day-parting or selling the OOH digital space, by the hour, without a full 24 hour commitment. It is not the case.

The McDonald’s Traffic Busters Campaign utilizes digital space for only specific times of each day.  According to Grand Visual, “It starts at 4 PM and runs through to 9.30 AM covering both the evening and morning commute.” 

OOH Today asked, ‘What happens to the other 6 and 1/2 hours McDonald’s is not utilizing the dynamic aspect of the Traffic Busters Campaign?’  The answer, “During all other times, generic content runs featuring firm favorites from the fast food chain.”  “The creative execution is day-parted. Linear content showcasing firm favorites runs during the day. Dynamic media starts at 4 PM.”

mc d UK traffic lightsStuck in a jam? There’s light at the end of the tunnel.’

We are relatively certain, the Big 3 are not selling street-side digital by the hour. This  leads OOH Today to inquire: Why aren’t we day-parting or selling street-side digital billboards hourly?  What do you think?

Read about it at McDonald’s Dynamic Traffic Busters Campaign

Grand Visual credit for photos.

mcdonalds digital UK traffic light

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  1. Robert Lewis says

    Two of the 3 digital screens in the article are you showing a creative message “Stuck in a jam?” which, if genuinely based on real time data from Google Traffic, is clearly the Wrong Message at the Wrong Time. Which part of the equation is not working?

  2. Robert Repasky says

    Nice Boards

  3. Bill Board says

    Thank you Robert Lewis. We’ll touch base with our contact and ask for a response. In the meantime, let me ask you: Couldn’t the two different digital locations which share the same creative message, both have a traffic jam at the same time? We are not familiar with the UK as we are America. In the U.S., any given major city, typically during rush hour, all roads are ‘jammed’. And the same message would be appropriate for each. Does this address your question? Bill

  4. Bill Board says

    thank you Robert Repasky.

  5. Robert Lewis says

    My point is that the message shown is for a traffic jam, and there is not a traffic jam!

  6. Bill Board says

    Ah I understand. Difficult to identify in the photos. Point taken. Will return with findings. Thank you.

  7. Alix Wood says

    Hi Robert,

    The creative changes based on the speed of traffic flow on each road.

    Slow moving traffic triggers the “Stuck in a jam?” creative.

    During rush hour in London, congestion levels on major roads can be heavy with slow moving traffic, hence the “stuck in a jam” copy can be seen at a variety of locations.

    Hope that helps?



  8. Alix Wood says

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for the write up.

    In terms of day-parting – it is alive and well in the UK digital OOH scene and the big 3 have been selling their inventory flexibly for a few years now.

    Back in 2013, we produced a campaign for Benadryl, an antihistamine treatment used by hay-fever sufferers. Digital posters and billboards were regionally activated when the pollen count was High/Very High according to MET Office readings that day. The campaign was so successful it ran for the next few summers… http://grandvisual.com/case-study/benadryl-pollen-alerts/

    More recently, we produced a roadside campaign for Virgin Trains which compared live travel times by train and by car, to popular UK destinations. During periods of heavy road congestion, additional media was triggered across digital 48 sheets at service stations along the route! http://grandvisual.com/virgin-trains-in-ooh-first-with-ads-that-use-traffic-and-geo-data-to-compare-journey-times/

    Plus Sainsbury’s, the second largest supermarket chain in UK, encouraged rail commuters to make the most of the good weather and the extra hours of daylight over the summer, with a week-night barbecue campaign which ran evenings only and featured a real-time count down to sunset https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/sainsburys-launches-sunset-countdown-billboards/1439523

    Just a few examples of what’s happening here, and how advertisers are using the mediums increasing flexibility to target time of day segments.



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