McDonald's Virtual Pit Crew Experience had what it takes to 'Elevate' customer experience. Does your brand?

| by Christopher Hall
McDonald's Virtual Pit Crew Experience had what it takes to 'Elevate' customer experience. Does your brand?

Has your brand "elevated" the customer experience in a new and different way? If so, why not pit what your QSR has accomplished against the very best in the business world by entering the Interactive Customer Experience Association Elevate Awards this coming June in Dallas?

The entrants are the best of the best in customer experience innovation and creation. For proof of that, look no further than the last year's Elevate award winner, McDonald's and its partners in the brand's Virtual Pit Stop Experience at NASCAR tracks nationwide in 2016.

This campaign was akin to a virtual reality experience on steroids because through the multi-leveled effort racing fans got a virtual experience as members of a NASCAR pit crew on a race day. The brand partnered with NEXT/Now, along with Evolve and KemperLesnik on what the three called their Virtual Pit Stop Experience at NASCAR tracks around the nation. 

The customer experience effort earned McDonald's and NEXT/Now the top spot for Deployment of the Year by fulfilling the Elevate Awards mission of being a campaign that literally set the pace in business today for using technology to "elevate" the customer experience.

Leaders at the creative tech agency, NEXT/Now said the experience they helped McDonald's offer race fans was intended to virtually "thrust" participants into a branded virtual reality experience created by the team in-house, from the ground up. 

In total the unusual "participatory" customer experience campaign made 10 stops on the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup series as a pop-up structure that housed three different virtual reality experiences after fans donned goggles from the HTC Vive to be transported into the virtual, high-octane world of a raceway pit stop.

By using HTC paddles, the players worked alongside the virtual pit crew to change two tires and rush McDonald's Car No. 1 driver, Jamie McMurray, back onto the track. Participants' pit stop times were then added to leader boards and emailed to fans to share across social media. 

McDonald's has a noted history as a NASCAR sponsor, which NEXT/Now said the QSR brand hoped to capitalize on by adding to its race-day presence by positively connecting with NASCAR fans and McDonald's app. The challenge was creating an experience that would stand out in the adrenaline-raising, stimulus-rich environment, race-day experience.

For McDonald's the goals were also walk away with measurable brand time, participant numbers, impressions, and social media impact from a custom social media shareable.    

More than 6,000 participants took part in the McDonald's Virtual Reality Experience, which equates to nearly 1,000 hours of brand time not including the participation of thousands more who viewed the spectacle and cheered on their fellow race fans. Approximately 2,000 social shares found their way to Facebook and Twitter, resulting in more than 1 million impressions, according to NEXT/Now. In fact, all this was topped off by the face that at each location, local print and broadcast media covered McDonald's Virtual Pit Stop experience, provided additional brand lift in free positive press coverage.

Has your QSR accomplished a similar feat of customer experience "magic"? If so, consider participating in this year's Elevate Awards, but don't dally. The ICX Association is now accepting entries for this year's awards until Monday, April 2. To enter, just submit your details here.

Topics: Burger/Steak/BBQ, Communications, Customer Service / Experience, Gaming, ICX Summit, Marketing / Branding / Promotion, Online / Mobile / Social, Research & Development / Innovation, Systems / Technology

Christopher Hall

Christopher is the managing director of the Interactive Customer Experience Association and former editor of A longtime freelance writer and reporter, he's bringing a fresh perspective and critical take on the industry.

wwwView Christopher Hall's profile on LinkedIn

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