NORD DDB’s Teodor Nisbel Fjäll and Felix Jörneman on the phone number that plays the McDonald’s jingle and the side-hustles that were a result of the campaign, writes LBB’s Nisna Mahtani
A McDonald’s Golden Card. Surely we’ve all heard of the urban legend? But as it turns out, they’re real and up for grabs. McDonald’s Sweden gives Swedes a chance to win one in their new campaign, ‘The Golden Number’. Partnering with NORD DDB, by solving the puzzle and ringing ‘The Golden Number’, one lucky McDonald’s fan has a chance to win the ultimate reward, free McDonalds for a year.
During the summer of 2021, the NORD DDB team were tip-tapping on their phone keyboards, only to discover that the McDonald’s jingle lent itself to an actual phone number. With this valuable information, the team decided to make use of it by creating a secretive raffle campaign. After the gruelling process of acquiring the number, the team began to tease the campaign with subtle packaging changes, nametag differences and cryptic messages on both the McDonald’s social media accounts and billboards across Sweden. And it worked. 5000 lucky people managed to solve the riddle, call the number and give themselves a chance at winning a Golden Card.
Nord DDB’s art director Teodor Nisbel Fjäll and copywriter Felix Jörneman speak to LBB’s Nisna Mahtani about the number becoming a side-hustle for budding entrepreneurs and ‘the fact that people simply like a good mystery!’
LBB> When did you discover that you could play the McDonald’s tune on your phone and how did that become the premise of your campaign?
Felix> We discovered it last summer while playing around with our phones. And really thought that it had something smart/funny/dumb to it. And that we should do something with it. The jingle has been around for quite a while and we thought it deserved some more shine, it’s pretty iconic after all.
LBB> To feature this McDonald’s Gold Card, you started by teasing the campaign on staff name tags, food tags and some packaging. Why was this the approach you chose to take and why did it work?
Teo> It actually felt like solving a mystery to discover that you can play the jingle on your keypad in the first place. This made us execute the campaign in a very cryptic and mysterious way from the very beginning. Why it worked? Honestly, we don’t think that it’s more complicated than the fact that people simply like a good mystery!
LBB> The campaign digital content is very minimal and so were the teasers on social media. Can you talk us through the design process for the campaign?
Teo> By calling the number you could win a Golden Card at McDonald’s. The card is somewhat of an urban legend that unconfirmed sources claim only can be acquired by the top of the top. We wanted the visuals to convey the feeling of both royalty and mystery. Minimalistic yet rich. Due to the minimalistic visuals, you wouldn’t be able to crack the code by just seeing an ad. You had to dig deeper and channel your own Sherlock Holmes.
LBB> When the campaign first launched, how many calls were you getting and how significantly did that number increase up until the campaign finished?
Felix> It was a slow start of course, since we were quite vague from the beginning. But as soon as we started to give out more clues, the calls started to flood in. It went up to 5000 people who found the number in the end.
LBB> What was the most challenging aspect of creating the campaign and can you tell us how you overcame it?
Felix> Actually getting our hands on the number. Legality wise. But with the help of some lovely and stubborn people here at NORD, we eventually managed to get it.
It’s also very hard to predict just how good people are at solving mysteries. Are the clues too easy? Too hard? We actually had a bunch of easier clues as a backup - in case no one cracked it. But we never had to publish them. Never underestimate the love for solving a mystery!
LBB> What has been the best reaction you’ve seen or heard of from the campaign?
Teo> We had a lot of really good reactions to the campaign. A favourite is that some people who had found the number actually tried making small businesses out of it by DMing the number to others for a small payment. Classic entrepreneurship!
LBB> Would you like to share anything else with us?
Felix> McDonald’s is now the only (we think) brand where the sound logo is also their number!