McDonald's ad campaign banks on a new payment method: love

In an effort to rebrand itself, McDonald's new advertising campaign "Choose Lovin' " now includes an option to pay for meals with acts of kindness.

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

During the Super Bowl, McDonald's introduced the next step of its “Choose Lovin’” campaign. The fast-food chain will be selecting 100 customers per store and giving them the opportunity to pay for their meal with acts of love.

From Feb. 2 to Feb. 14, between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., an estimated 1 million randomly selected McDonalds customers can opt to pay for their meal by doing such things as calling their mom to tell her they love her, doing a little dance, or hugging a family member to spread the lovin’.

The commercial featured this form of currency with a montage of pleasantly surprised McDonalds customers “choosing love,” encouraging employees and applauding bystanders.  It sent the message that McDonalds appreciates community and family.

"We're really serious about lovin' our customers," Deborah Wahl, chief marketing officer at McDonald's USA, told USA Today. "This gives us a chance to show it."

Individual stores will be giving out 35 meals the first day, 20 the next and then less then five per day for the duration of the contest except for Feb. 7. There will be 10 per store that day, reports the Los Angeles Times

This newest commercial in the fast food chain’s “Choose Lovin’” campaign has not sparked the controversy that the first “Choose Lovin’” commercial did, which is a good thing as the company is currently attempting to improve its public image and rebrand itself.

After the first “Choose Lovin’” commercial was released, McDonald’s was criticized for capitalizing on tragedy and appealing to a sense of community when its workers are so frequently tied up in labor disputes.

The new ad campaign comes at a time when McDonald's sales are slumping. Fourth quarter revenue was down 7.3 percent overall, though less steeply in the US. The fast-food chain has struggled with customer perceptions that it's offerings are "less healthy" than other similar outlets, and growing competition from other chains such as Smash Burger, Five Guys, and Shake Shack.

McDonald's also extended its Super Bowl goodwill advertising campaign on Sunday to Twitter. During commercial breaks throughout the Super Bowl, McDonalds offered up over 50 giveaways to people who re-tweeted its tweets complimenting other advertisers.

The prizes up for grabs were tailored to each company’s product.

For example, McDonalds was giving away an XBox One and a 2015 Toyota Camry to those who re-tweeted its tweet about Microsoft and Toyota. Other giveaways were less literal. If you re-tweeted McDonald’s Doritos tweet you were in the running to win a suitcase full of Doritos and airline tickets – a nod to the winning commercial in Doritos Super Bowl ad contest.

"We want to engage in ways that are more relevant and more meaningful," Wahl told USA Today.

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