CHICAGO On Thursday at noon, a woman in a swimsuit walked onto the crowded plaza at 2 North Riverside, set up a beach chair, and asked a lunching office worker to apply suntan lotion to her back. Then, more people dressed in swim gear appeared and began tossing beach balls around. Music started playing, and office workers—or, okay, dancers dressed as office workers—leaped up to join the beach-party crew in a choreographed dance routine. A steel drum band entered next, along with people clutching mango-hued towels, surf boards, and swim noodles.
To promote its new smoothie, McDonald's worked with AgencyEA to put on the pop-up beach party. “Much like the fun of a spontaneous summer party in the middle of a hectic city, McCafé Mango Pineapple Real Fruit Smoothies give customers a respite from the dog days of summer,” said McDonald's spokesperson Ashlee Yingling.
In terms of venue selection, “having an outdoor urban space that would allow for a large number of people to enjoy the surprise beach party was important,” Yingling said. “The outdoor plaza at 2 North Riverside presented the perfect venue to engage with unsuspecting customers in a beautiful city setting.”
Throughout the 90-minute happening, Yingling said, “hundreds of people visited the plaza,” and staffers distributed 1,300 to 1,400 samples of the smoothie. Along with tasting the new product, pop-up-party participants could dance, compete in a limbo contest, hula hoop, or play beach noodle jump rope.
“Success for us was bringing some summer fun to Chicagoans and sharing the newest flavor of our Real Fruit Smoothie line,” said Yingling, adding that the brand hopes that those who sampled the treat will be “inspired to go into the restaurants to enjoy the smoothies once again."
To promote the new flavor nationally, initiatives include the summerlong McDonald's McCafé Real Fruit Smoothie Fusion tour. Slated to hit 38 cities including Chicago, Dallas, and Miami, the tour includes a branded motor coach with a smoothie lounge within.