McDonald’s commissioned Make Real to create an immersive experience to simulate real farming activities required in the job and ‘Top of the Crop’ was born.

Overview

McDonald’s ‘Follow Our Foodsteps’ campaign looked to champion British and Irish farming and inspire young people into thinking about opportunities afforded to them within the sector, by raising awareness of different skills required.

According to the Food and Drink Federation, there is a need to attract 109,000 new recruits into the food industry by 2022. As one of the biggest customers of British agriculture, McDonald’s led the way with this campaign in kick-starting a new recruitment drive needed to safeguard farming’s future.

‘Top of the Crop’ is a two-player ‘Hero VR’ realistic potato harvesting game, with participants competing against each other to harvest the most potatoes, collecting quality, unbruised crops. Features include high score table, honkable horn and realistic pedals and steering wheel built into gaming cabinets.

Challenges

The product was co-created (designed and tested) with progressive young farmers with three young female farmers who were undertaking the 12-month McDonald’s progressive young farmers programme.

We overcame technical challenges having to operate a touring, offline VR experience. Make Real designed and installed the technical solution in a VR truck created for the purpose which was nine months in the making.

For the initial media launch day in early 2016, Make Real used the close relationship with Oculus in order to ensure Oculus Rift VR headsets were available for deployment prior to the global consumer release of the devices.

Impact

The experience was hosted on a touring truck, visiting a number of agricultural / skills events around the UK, viewed and experienced by millions. Having just completed the third year of the event season, the truck is still fully operational whilst having been upgraded with newer VR devices, such as Oculus Go, as they became available.

‘Follow our Foodsteps’ secured a considerable volume of quality press coverage, 42M unique impressions over 60+ articles in print and online, where ‘Top of the Crop’ was the standout asset, such as The Guardian, Huffington Post, Farming UK, Campaign, VR Focus, Business Reporter and Marketing Week.

The campaign received a significantly enhanced public perception of McDonald’s UK as a campaigner for quality ingredients and career opportunities in food and farming, as well as significant internal awareness and positioning of the #foodsteps initiative.

There was also noteworthy buy-in within McDonald’s globally, including acknowledgement via Twitter by the global CEO based in the States.

“As a nation, we have never been more food-focused. The eating out market is growing but this passion for food is masking a lack of understanding around how food is produced and the vital role our farming and food industries play in growing, sourcing and producing quality ingredients. As the biggest customer of British and Irish farming, we wanted to lift the lid on the passion and skills that exist at every stage of the process, from farm to front-counter.

By bringing together tech developers with farmers and food experts, we created an immersive virtual reality experience that allows people to follow in the footsteps of farmers, suppliers and our crew, bringing the best of UK food production from the countryside to communities across the UK. With Make Real this campaign has allowed us to build pride in British farming, challenge outdated stereotypes and celebrate the best of food and farming in the UK today.”

McDonald's UK

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