A McDonald’s spokesperson confirmed a report in License! Global magazine that the chain has inked a deal with Glendale, Calif.-based Renegade Animation. It will supply its animated series “Funny Face” along with a series of animated children’s music videos from Tom Chapin for use on the fledgling McDonald’s Channel.
McDonald’s spokesperson Ashlee Yingling cautioned against reading too much into the agreement with Renegade, noting that the McDonald’s Channel currently is in test in only 30 of the chain’s roughly 14,000 U.S. restaurants. “There are no immediate plans to expand the test, nor have any decisions been made regarding making this available nationally,” Yingling said.
Still, commissioning additional content seems a vote of confidence in the in-store channel, which was launched last December in just two stores (Las Vegas—shown above—and Norwalk, Calif.) and expanded to 20 stores this spring. Initially, much of its content has come from Discovery Communications’ properties (including Discovery Channel, Discovery Kids and Animal Planet). The chain is working with Cincinnati-based Harris Corp.’s Harris Digital Signage unit in building the out-of-home network.
Brand Republic reports that McDonald’s also is developing a branded channel in the UK, where supermarket retailer Tesco already has introduced an in-store network. The magazine quoted Andy Pitman, CEO of Brightspace, McDonald’s UK partner on the branded-TV project, as saying, “Although people don’t come to McDonald’s to watch TV, they will be entertained by screen content while they are there. We are therefore devising a totally new editorial approach—with content strands being created for transitory audiences while being blended editorially for brand partners.”
Coca-Cola, with which McDonald’s partners globally, is expected to have a heavy ad presence on the restaurant chain’s in-store network no matter the country. A German McDonald’s network also reportedly is under development.
Dedicated retailer channels aren’t new, and several other restaurant companies are exploring the possibilities. McDonald’s, however, always is different, and one difference always is money. Unlike most competitors, it has the marketing budget for unique programming.
In June, Carl’s Jr. signed an agreement with Addison, Texas-based Indoor Direct Inc. to deliver its “theBITE Network” to 133 locations. This channel combines entertainment and advertising, divided into 3- to 5-minute segments. Denny’s also has signed up with Indoor Direct. A five-year deal signed in February calls for theBITE Network on screens in 300 stores initially with all 1,500 U.S. locations eventually wired in, according to MediaWeek. Denny’s and Indoor Direct are developing content around the chain’s late-night Rockstar Menu of dishes created by Rascal Flatts, Good Charlotte, Sum 41 or other acts.
Arby’s, Captain D’s, CiCi’s Pizza, Del Taco and Taco Bueno are among several chains reportedly working with Indoor Direct on in-store media.