- McDonald's Sweden this month ran a promotion around the Golden M, the haircut popularized in the 1990s that resembles the chain's Golden Arches logo.
- From Dec. 5-6, the chain operated the M Barber Shop, where consumers could receive free virtual appointments with a hairdresser to learn how to give themselves the Golden M at home. The appointments with influencer hairstylist Adam Lukacs — who was working from a Stockholm storefront that could be seen by passersby — sold out within two hours, Fox News reported.
- The effort tapped into nostalgia for a haircut originally popularized by the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and David Beckham, along with new interest generated by K-pop stars BTS. Along with the virtual appointments, McDonald's Sweden launched The Golden M Detector, a mobile app that used artificial intelligence and machine learning to reward consumers with a Big Mac if it detected Golden M haircuts in selfies, per Ad Age.
The Golden M push by McDonald's Sweden playfully tapped into renewed interest in an iconic hairstyle, at a time when some consumers are forgoing in-person salon appointments or cutting their own hair due to the coronavirus pandemic. The appointments selling out quickly demonstrates that there is interest in at-home experiential activations as the pandemic persists.
"When we realized that people were wearing our Golden Arches, we had to act," Staffan Ekstam, the marketing director at McDonald's Sweden, told Fox News. "We started the M Barber Shop not only to guard our Golden M, but also to claim it once and for all. The salon is a celebration dedicated to our beloved ambassadors — a helping hand to guide them on how to keep their M's in perfect trim, even when we can't move around as freely as we usually can."
In addition to the virtual appointments, the chain extended the reach of the effort with its mobile Golden M Detector, using AI and ML to detect the haircut and give out free Big Macs to people sporting the hairstyle. For those that didn't have the haircut already or missed out on the virtual appointments, a video tutorial extends the campaign's reach and could encourage more fans to wear the Golden Arches in their hair.
McDonald's this month also gave away free McRib sandwiches to the first 10,000 people who showed on social media that they shaved their facial hair after No-Shave November, an annual month-long event that raises money for cancer research, prevention and education. These efforts come as the chain announced plans to boost its marketing spend for the remainder of 2020 as it attempts to recover from lost sales resulting from pandemic-related lockdowns this year.