Division A - Public Relations Programs

Category 1 - Community Relations

McDonald's Salutes Your Local American Heroes

Anna Burns, Karen Case, The Dalton Agency

Judges' Award

Research/Situation Analysis: The Greater Jacksonville, Fla. area is home to five military bases, service men and women, and the civilian community that supports it. In 2006, McDonald's of northeast Florida and southeast Georgia felt the need to give something back to those who serve and protect Florida's First Coast and the United States of America. During the spring of 2006, the Dalton Agency's McDonald's team brainstormed on how to effectively and efficiently cover a large area and touch each military branch. Most importantly, McDonald's wanted to find a way to give each and every service member a sincere "thank you" and recognition for their outstanding work and personal sacrifices.

Through many important networking opportunities the team was able to connect with the local United Service Organizations (USO), Susan Davis International public affairs firm in Washington, D.C., and partnerships with the Department of Defense's (DoD) "America Supports You" program.

"America Supports You" is a program launched by the DoD to help the civilian community communicate their support for the military personnel at home and abroad. Through their program we were able to create "McDonald's Supports Your Local American Heroes" as our recognition initiative.


To show support and gratitude to the local military service groups for their work overseas and at home through McDonald's collateral

To create a campaign to generate awareness of the many local military personnel who participate in extraordinary efforts every day by highlighting each military branch of the DoD through garnered media and impressions

Implementation: As part of our recognition initiative, we held a photo shoot using active duty military members from each branch of the Marines, Army, Navy and Air Force. Both the Army and Air Force candidates dully represented the National Guard through their active duty status. The images from the photo shoot were used for the design of the 42-ounce plastic cups, trayliners and for release to the media. (Trayliners are a paper lining made for the dine-in trays that the food is carried on to keep the trays cleaner. Trayliners are also another avenue to disseminate promotional information to the consumers from the local McDonald's co-op or national brand.)

Photo shoot candidates were nominated by their commanders for their excellent service recognized by Pentagon officials. Each candidate has served their country overseas, in a time of war, and during national crises such as the September 11, 2001 attacks, and natural disasters.

McDonald's involvement with the "America Supports You" project included a trayliner and 42-ounce plastic cups in all of the 98 McDonald's restaurants in the northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia area.


The images and collateral produced were printed on 100,000 42-ounce plastic cups and 150,000 trayliners that were distributed through the Co-Op region

Earned media garnered over one-million impressions through two print articles from the Gainesville Sun and Florida Times-Union, one radio interview with WOKV 690-AM/106.9-FM, and inclusion in the "America Supports You" e-newsletter that is distributed though and email blast and throughout the DoD

$21,000 in earned media

Each branch of the military was represented by local military personnel selected from the local commands of Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Camp Blanding, and Blount Island Command

Budget: As a community relations initiative, we had a budget of $2,000 for our recognition program. The money was budgeted as union rates to pay the "talent" for the photo shoot. As per the DoD, the candidates were not allowed to be paid for their time during the photo shoot above and beyond travel expenses. The candidates all agreed that the leftover money would be donated to the local USO by McDonald's, and after the members were reimbursed for their expenses, a $1,600 donation had been made.

$400 for travel expenses of the military candidates

$1,600 donation to the Greater Jacksonville Area USO

No extra cost to print the cups and trayliners as they are part of the basic packaging needs, and would be provided regardless of the art supplied

The photo shoot, photographer, design editor and billable time were all built into the McDonald's Co-Op 2006 retainer fee, so there were no extra costs for their services