McDonalds and Digital Signage, A Perfect Fit?

By | June 10, 2009

A McDonalds in Chicago is filled with all kinds of innovative uses of digital signage solutions. If this experiment in digital signage is successful it may in fact become commonplace in McDonalds franchises all over the world.

While waiting to order their food customers are greeted by a row of eight 15 inch flat screen LCD TVs that have been hung above the registers, where one normally looks for the menu board, which is located just below the TV displays in this particular restaurant. The screens constantly show carefully synchronized marketing content .For instance, in one sequence a McDonalds logo appears on a screen at the far right and then proceeds to “zoom” across the other screens, stopping at the screen that is farthest to the left. The principle is repeated to advertise all kinds of menu items and special offers. The effect is eye catching and engaging for the waiting customers.

There is even more innovation once the customer is in the main dining area. Here there are 42 inch screens that display all kinds of action and sports videos interspersed with McDonald’s commercials. These large screens are actually divided into sections. The videos play in the large right hand portion, but a scrolling bar at the left of the screen offers previews of other available videos. Diners can send short text messages right from their cell phones to change the content that is bring displayed!

There is a third deployment of digital signage inside the children’s Playland. There is found another big screen TV with a camera. Across the room is a three foot tall purple kiosk. The touch screen plays commercials as well as cartoons, which children can pick out themselves. For birthday parties the manager here stops the videos and turns on the camera, so the delighted children can see themselves having fun right on the TV.

The whole thing is controlled from a tiny office at the back of the store , which looks just like a server room in a regular office. In addition to the CPUs that run the digital signage system are all the other computers that are used to run the average modern McDonalds.

But the franchise owner is not stopping there. Recently he hung an outdoor digital sign right under the famous golden arches. It is actually two 6’x12” signs hung back to back, and they play the same kind of eye-catching content as customers inside the store are seeing.