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McDonald’s joins ABC’s `Happy Hour’

Sep 9, 2002  •  Post A Comment

In launching perhaps its most crucial TV season in recent years, The Walt Disney Co.’s ABC Television Network is pulling out all the stops by partnering with McDonald’s Corp. for a sweeping marketing effort to launch its “ABC Happy Hour” programming block.
“We have had fall launch partners before, but nothing that includes this many shows,” said Dan Longest, senior VP of integrated marketing and promotion for ABC. “The fall launch is as critical as ABC has done in recent memory.”
Although separate from the fast-food giant’s 10-year corporate alliance with ABC parent Walt Disney Co., the deal-which involves four on-air promotions hyping a sweepstakes trivia contest printed on McDonald’s tray liners-does not bring any new ad dollars to ABC. However, the airtime devoted to the promotion is valued at $30 million by executives close to the network.
McDonald’s ad agency, Bcom3 Group’s Leo Burnett Co., Chicago, is working with ABC’s in-house agency on the promotional spots.
ABC, which saw its overall ratings fall 20 percent last year, had a weak summer during which it averaged less than a 2.0 Nielsen Media Research rating among adults 18 to 49 and is in desperate need of an off-air promotion to get its new shows launched. That means fewer viewers are seeing promotions for its fall shows, causing the network to try to find new outlets for its message.
“[McDonald’s] penetration of the marketplace is just massive,” Mr. Longest said. “We felt that this new approach of `Happy Hour’ was a perfect fit with their branding and their customers coming in the door.”