Sandeep Goyal
May 14, 2021

Blog: Biden admin ropes in McDonald's to drive Covid vaccination

The author suggests that the Government of India could also reach out to companies that have large rural outreach to help carry vaccine messages on their packaging

Blog: Biden admin ropes in McDonald's to drive Covid vaccination
The Biden administration has enlisted McDonald’s for its multi-million dollar vaccine awareness campaign, “We Can Do This.”
McCafé cups and McDelivery seal stickers will help raise vaccine awareness this summer; “We Can Do This” campaign ads will also launch on McDonald's Times Square billboard later this month, with predominant amount of the inventory being deployed for the vaccine messaging. 
The Biden government launched its campaign through the US Department of Health and Human Services, in April 2021. The campaign is planned to run on TV, radio, print ads, and social media. And now the campaign will also be supported by the fast-food giant through its vast network of 14,146 stores. US$10 million were spent on TV ads in April. The campaign is part of a US$250 million contract signed with ad consultant Fors Marsh originally approved by the Trump administration last year. Fors March subsequently farmed out some of the work out to WPP agencies, VMLY&R and Wavemaker.
Omnicom’s DDB will be handling the “We Can Do This” advertising on McDonald’s Times Square billboard. As part of the campaign, McDonald’s McCafé cups and McDelivery packaging will direct people to the government sponsored site which includes a tool to help locate vaccination centers as well as educational material on why it is important to get vaccinated. The Biden Administration is launching the “We Can Do This” campaign as vaccination rates are falling across the country after having peaked in April. The US is now administering about 2 million shots per day, down from 3.4 million shots per day back in April.
Highlighting McDonald’s involvement, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said: “Thanks to McDonald’s, people will now be able to get trusted information about vaccines when they grab a cup of coffee or order a meal. Ending this pandemic requires all of us working together to do our part, including encouraging our friends and family to get vaccinated.”
Genna Gent, McDonald’s USA VP added: “This is a team effort—it takes all of us. We’re proud to enter this partnership to provide trusted, independently verified information about COVID-19 vaccines to our customers in the nearly 14,000 communities we serve.”
What makes McDonald’s such a formidable partner for President Joe Biden? Look at some of the global statistics – there are 39,138 restaurants worldwide, and 14, 248 are in the US … about 35%. Adjust numbers for just the US accordingly. 
1. McDonald's' daily customer traffic (62 million) is more than the population of Great Britain.
2. McDonald's sells more than 75 hamburgers every second.
3. McDonald's feeds 68 million people per day, that's about 1 percent of the world's population.
4. McDonald's' US$27 billion in revenue makes it the 90th-largest economy in the world.
5. The US$8.7 billion in revenue from franchise stores alone, makes McDonald's richer than Mongolia.
6. McDonald's hires around 1 million workers in the US every year. This estimate from Fast Food Nation assumes a 700,000 domestic workforce with 150% turnover rate.
7. McDonald's has 761,000 employees worldwide, that's more than the population of Luxembourg.
This Biden-McDonald’s partnership builds on McDonald's continued efforts to provide for the safety of customers and restaurant crew throughout this pandemic. McDonald's says it remains committed to being as safe as possible for crew and customers and has enhanced more than 50 safety processes at restaurants over the last year. In addition, McDonald's announced in January that managers and crew at corporate-owned U.S. restaurants and U.S. corporate employees would receive up to four hours of paid time to receive the vaccine. Earlier this month, McDonald's hosted a vaccination clinic at their Chicago headquarters for local crew, franchisees, corporate employees and contractors.
Meanwhile, 10 million Uber free rides to vaccine appointments will help Americans reach vaccination centers across the US. The campaign by R/GA features the iconic film director Spike Lee who teams up with photographer Tyle Mitchell. Titled “Vaccinate the Block,” the campaign asks the public to help Uber’s efforts to drive people across America to their vaccine appointments. According to Uber, 45% of Americans lack public transportation access. Consequently, Uber is partnering with PayPal and Walgreens to create the Vaccine Access Fund to help Americans get to their vaccine appointments. In total, Uber has pledged to provide 10 million free rides to vaccination centers to help curb the ongoing disastrous effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.  
Uber in India too has extended support to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, state governments, and local NGOs with free rides to assist in the second phase of the vaccination drive. The free rides can be used to travel to and from the nearest authorised vaccination centre, across 35 cities, by citizens above 45 years of age with co-morbidities. On every ride claimed under ‘vaccination promo code’ on the app, Uber will give a Rs.150 discount across all its products. So it is not really ‘free’ but discounted.  35 cities have been selected on the basis of where Uber has an existing large network. Uber has also said that it will also spread awareness through its app and social media channels. But the large-heartedness displayed by the ride-hailing firm in the US seems very watered down in India, by comparison. 
The Govt. of India could do well to rope in companies that have large rural outreach… HUL, Amul, ITC, Parle … to help carry vaccine messages on their packaging. It is a medium with nearly zero incremental cost. And reaches the poorest of poor through products they carry home. In India, a Zomato or Swiggy are too metro-centric so they cannot replicate what McDonald’s offers in the US on reach. In all fairness, the Government has tried the pre-message recording on mobile phones but its over-use has now made the message a blind (nay, deaf) spot! 
The author is managing director at Rediffusion and writes on topics of current interest in advertising and marketing. 
Campaign India

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