Although McDonald’s has a sound sustainability strategy that includes commitments, actions and results, consumers were unaware of its environmental commitments and levels of trust in the brand were very low in this regard. We faced a double challenge: communicating the sustainability commitments of McDonald’s transparently and doing so in a noticeable and stand-out way when compared with the competition.
We started by looking at the sustainability strategy itself and one of the most important milestones included in the plan: the withdrawal of plastic straws.Plastic straws had become a negative symbol of climate change. So, we suggested a goal: what if we could turn that around and convert a plastic straw into something valuable, a collector’s item? We created a historic, artistic and valuable symbol, and got consumers involved: we auctioned off the last plastic straw from McDonald’s in Spain. To increase the social value of this initiative, we added a charity purpose to the auction: all the money raised from the sale would be donated to the Ronald McDonald Children’s Foundation.As if it were a real art auction, we obtained notary certification that the straw belonged to the last batch received from our supplier and designed a frame for the occasion. In order for the auction to be as transparent as possible, in line with the overall objective for the initiative, we organized the bidding via eBay.