Waze Canada partners with McDonald’s on in-app summer drinks campaign

Who: McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada, Waze, OMD Canada.

What: “Summer Drink Days,” a “destination-based marketing” activation that uses the popular navigation app to deliver promotional messages to drivers.

When & where: The bilingual campaign is running across Canada through Sept. 2.

How: The campaign works in concert with McDonald’s billboards, using radius targeting to serve up a full-screen ad offering a cold drink deal whenever a Waze user nears a McDonald’s billboard. It then asks the user if they would like to be rerouted to the nearest McDonald’s restaurant.

The ads use Waze’s most popular advertising format, the zero speed takeover, with ads only appearing when the vehicle comes to a complete stop, such as at a red light.

So does it work?: McDonald’s utilized a similar approach with Waze in Southern California, using 300 billboards. The initiative resulted in 8,400 navigations to a restaurant, 6.4 million impressions and 1.9 million users reached. “We’re really excited to see how this approach resonates in Canada,” says Kiersten Trafford, account executive with Waze Canada.

Waze’s Canadian user base has grown 400% since 2015 according to Trafford and quick service restaurants is one of the most popular advertising verticals on Waze. Waze users spend an average of 38 minutes driving each time they use the app, driving approximately 610 million kilometres each month.

It’s part of a concerted advertising effort by Waze: Earlier this year, the Google-owned app announced a collaboration with WPP making it simpler for retail brands to run campaigns within the app, which has more than 100 million users.

According to the announcement, WPP will work with Waze “to make it easier for WPP’s clients to advertise on Google and directly reach and target drivers via the in-car platform, driving store footfall and product sales.”

According to a Digiday report earlier this year, Waze has increased its global ad business to more than 30,000 small and medium-sized businesses in the past nine months. One of its key selling points is affordability: According to a pitch deck obtained by Digiday, ads start at $2 a day for a single business location, with local ads and bigger brands paying on a cost per impression basis.

Quoting the pitch deck, Digiday said that advertisers see as much as a 33% gain in store visits as a result of ad placements within Waze.

And we quote: “We’re increasing awareness of McDonald’s, and providing drivers with turn-by-turn directions to a restaurant if they’d like take advantage of drink deals.” —Kiersten Trafford, account executive with Waze Canada.


Chris Powell