- McDonald's partnered with Viacom's in-house content studio, Viacom Velocity, and Omnicom Group's The Content Collective on an integrated, multi-network campaign called "Speechless" promoting its new Quarter Pounder, according to news provided to Marketing Dive.
- The campaign focuses on co-branded content that will run across several Viacom networks through July 11, starting with MTV. There will be co-branded spots in "Wild Style," a game segment of sketch comedy show "Wild 'N Out," along with social video promos featuring Justina Valentine, the show's star. The campaign will air on MTV, MTV.com and the social media channels for both the show and its cast.
- A co-branded promo written by Ronny Chieng, a correspondent on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," will act as a lead-in to the program on July 28. The spot will air on Comedy Central, as well as on the Comedy Central and "The Daily Show" social channels. A co-branded spot will also air on BET from June 22-24 leading up to the BET Awards. Custom content will run on BET.com and BET's Facebook and Twitter pages.
Viacom's partnership with McDonald's is an example of how TV networks are investing in new ways to reach viewers beyond the traditional TV spot and across platforms. This strategy often includes more closely blending brand integrations into the programming itself, and has been adopted by other networks, including NBCUniversal with popular series like "Saturday Night Live." Such an approach can both cut commercial airtime and make advertising seem less interruptive, which might help keep viewers engaged.
McDonald's promoting its Quarter Pounder across MTV, Comedy Central and BET is an effort to reach those networks' typically younger audiences, who may be watching more TV and streaming content during the summer. The fast-food chain is in the midst of revamping its menu, including by adding fresher beef to popular offerings like the Quarter Pounder. Though its U.S. sales increased in the most recent quarter, McDonald's has in recent years struggled to win over younger consumers like millennials, who tend to prefer fresher, healthier foods.
Linear TV viewership continues to shrink, while cord cutting is on the rise along with the popularity of ad-free subscription streaming services like Netflix. Viacom has, in turn, embraced more digital media initiatives, including by forging Twitter partnerships to run original programming. In February, the company also acquired the conference VidCon, which connects online content creators to their fans.