It’s been over a year since the Singapore-Malaysia border closure. As a result, many Muslim families will be forced to celebrate Ramadan, or the holy month of fasting, without their loved ones this year. Here’s how McDonald’s is making use of digital tools to unite families in a new campaign that promotes aspects of Ramadan including togetherness, forgiveness, sacrifice, and the value of a shared meal.
In the chain’s newest campaign, viewers learn the stories of multiple Singapore McDonald’s employees currently enduring separation from their parents, spouses, and children as a result of the border closure. In addition to talking about how much they miss their families and what they would do if they could see them now, the employees also touch on the pride they have about being able to maintain their work responsibilities, and as such, provide for their loved ones back home. The ad concludes with the interviewed employees being surprised with a “hybrid” dinner table at McDonald’s restaurants in both Malaysia and Singapore that use cameras, life-size screens, and video conferencing tools to reunite them with their families.
The gesture is especially poignant as it addresses not only the difficulty of being separated from loved ones as a result of the Coronavirus crisis, but also the important act of eating together during the month of Ramadan. Typically, families break their daily fast together as a way to honor the things they often take for granted, like food and family, but also more specific principles including generosity and forgiveness. For example, if someone became impatient with a family member during the day (possibly as a result of being hangry), the breaking of the fast together serves as an opportunity to literally break bread and build bonds. Taking on larger missions is key for brands that want to satisfy the evolving consumer, especially as one of the largest groups of spenders—Gen Z—continues to seek out labels that take real action on their promises. The initiative also reflects a matured marketing strategy for McDonald’s, which boasts a spot in the Gifted class of Gartner’s ranking, that makes uses of the lessons learned during the pandemic. When implemented correctly, digital tools can be an enormous help, even post-pandemic. Going forward, brands should bet on these tools to help create similar “hybrid” situations as the new normal continues to evolve.
As a brand that celebrates family togetherness, “My Happy Table” could be the first of many initiatives that McDonald’s might create to shine light not only on its own values, but on the global values of diversity, unity, and inclusiveness.