This is a look inside the new global HQ for McDonald’s, which has come in from the Chicago suburbs to an older building in the West Loop area that was previously home to Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios.
The space looks beautiful, and has numerous experiential interactive displays put together by the Chicago design shop Leviathan.
Leviathan says McDonald’s had numerous ideas for what is called MHQ, from simple welcome boards, to details promoting corporate initiatives, to profiles on donors of the Ronald McDonald House.
“Every day, McDonald’s is bringing a very inspiring mission to life in countless exciting ways,” says Leviathan’s CEO Chad Hutson. “Having the opportunity to organically embed digital interactives into their monumental headquarters with the goal of stimulating and educating employees and visitors is truly a dream job for us. I think it’s fair to say, it’s also a challenge we are perfectly suited for.”
Covering an entire Randolph Street block, says Leviathan, most of McDonald’s 2,000 local corporate employees access MHQ via Carpenter Street.
Beginning with the public before advancing the engagements for new company recruits, Leviathan’s first installation graces a large LED screen in the lobby, which is programmed with compelling original content that evolves throughout the day, season to season. On floor two, Leviathan’s largest interactive experience greets Hamburger University management trainees. Responding to motion and touch, capable of accommodating scores of interactions simultaneously, this incredibly powerful experience engine educates through elegant use of interactive timelines and an expansive video archive, inviting users to engage directly with the brand’s far-reaching legacy.
Near the Hamburger University Interactive, a wall with over a hundred wooden-framed digital displays updates to show photos of each university student in current attendance, with fun personal facts and a graduation takeover mode to celebrate class completion.
The 2nd and 3rd floors have touchscreens assigned to explaining Ronald McDonald House Charities.
On the third floor, RMHC donors are showcased in another interactive display, allowing sorting and further information discovery related to the charity’s contributors.
Another digital installation on MHQ’s third floor “brings the company’s quest for sustainability to life vibrantly. Touching the screen begins a deep-dive exploring the many ways McDonald’s is using its scale for good, leveraging rich media resources to relate quandaries and achievements to educate the most curious minds.”
A Hall of Visionaries installation on the eighth floor, which contains the executive offices, is activated by motion. “Any encounter with the experience conjures a kaleidoscopic video tribute to prominent cultural figures who began their careers at McDonald’s.”<
“Although each of the experiences is housed within McDonald’s Headquarters, individual touchpoints feature content that is unique to specific business units within the organization, each having its own set of identity standards and messaging practices,” says Leviathan’s Executive Creative Director Kyle Shoup. “We had to be careful to remain true to each of these identities aesthetically, while providing a consistent interaction experience throughout.”
The design shop is working in two more installations, and their creative, at MHQ.
Very nice work. Award-worthy. Leviathan is the company that also did this in Chicago.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.