McDonald’s stressing new Digital OOH channel just a regional test

October 27, 2011 by Dave Haynes

That recent news about a McDonald’s TV rollout in its stores continues to get a lot of attention, and in turn generate a lot of questions.

I noted at the time the very noticeable absence of PR from the fast food giant when the story came out, and the decidedly cautious comments.

Now the online trade publication QSR has done a piece and received equally tepid commentary about the project.

McDonald’s spokeswoman Ashlee Yingling, reports QSR, cautioned that the Southern California roll-out remains a test and that any future plans have not been determined. “While we continue to look at making this branded content available to our customers, it would be premature to speculate on what additional restaurants [or] markets may be added to the test.”

So the test that started a couple of years ago in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego a couple of years ago will now be  expanded to 645 California stores later this year.

“This is where real estate meets social networks … [and] an opportunity to create a customer-facing application all about enhancing the customer experience,” says Lee Edmondson, founder of Los Angeles–based ChannelPort Communications, the McDonald’s Channel provider.

Real estate meets social networks???

Anyway, I asked a couple of people who would know a thing or two about McDonald’s and the project and both stressed this is a regional “going rogue” thing that doesn’t have the seal of approval from head office, and is not fully signed and sealed. One suggested it would be gone in six months.

I cannot find a website for the firm, so I can’t ask Edmondson. But he told QSR the future for the McDonald’s Channel could be bright. “If all checks out [in Southern and Central California] and we get the customer experience we believe we can, then the opportunity and decision will have to be made as to when and how we scale this nationwide.”

This could turn out to be a big moment for the digital signage and digital out of home industries. Or not.

Actually rolling this out takes full buy-in from the people really in charge, and that’s in Chicago. Then a whole pile of capital is going to be needed for the gear and install costs. And then an advertising community has to buy in to the media proposition that a rolled-out network delivers 20 million eyeballs a month.

It’s a long, long road from here to there.

  1. In Europe we had different stories around Mc Donalds and DS.. i remember the announcement made by Dutch Mc Donalds about their abandon of DS. Recently in Italy and Spain McDonalds started implementing many retail services (free wifi and instore radio channel) and Digital Signage again.. surely these are local decisions and probably different tests but also with different approach. Gives additional services to customers seems more efficent than just selling advertising (like in the Dutch way..).
    Recently also BurgerKing is doing the same..
    in 6/8 months we can evaluate the different type of content and their “freshness” and make a comparision between similar market and marketing different approach.

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