McDonald’s breakthrough mobile game inserts 3D reconstructions of menu items


The McDonald’s GOL! game

In its first global digital promotion, McDonalds is leveraging new mobile technology that creates a real-time 3D reconstruction of menu items on a table for a soccer-themed game that brings a new level of interactivity and authenticity to its brand engagements on mobile.

Starting next Monday, McDonalds French fries will come in new packaging celebrating the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil that will also unlock a new augmented reality experience featuring the virtual trick-shot challenge. Using Qualcomms new Smart Terrain vision capability, users of the McDonalds GOL! application will be able to bring in objects from their environment such as their cup or Happy Meal box to use in the game and help them score.

For the first time ever, McDonalds is changing the design of our iconic fry box globally to celebrate the spirit of the FIFA World Cup with our customers around the world, said Becca Hary, director of global media relations at McDonalds, Oak Brook, IL. The McDonalds program brings the Tournament to life visually through unique packaging which also reveals a new high-tech mobile application that allows fans to engage with one another from every corner of the Earth.

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To help fans celebrate the glory and passion of football with one another digitally, McDonalds is unveiling an innovative and exciting new Augmented Reality game that gives football fans a truly unique experience, she said. The game utilizes cutting-edge technology to give our customers the chance to perfect trick shot skills and share them with other fans throughout the world.

Real-time 3D reconstruction
The game is part of a global rollout of new packaging for the chains much-loved French fries.

The app lets users build their own game environments using everyday objects. The app creates a 3D geometric map of the environment in real-time, recreating various objects on a surface such as a table and giving users the ability to interact with these objects. This is all done using existing cameras.

Smart Terrain is currently available on all Android and iOS devices that are currently supported by Qualcomm’s Vuforia mobile vision software platform.

McDonald’s is the first global brand to use the Smart Terrain capability in a commercial application.

Users activate the experience using a McDonald’s French fry container and the tabletop becomes a play area. For example, users can use the ball to make trick shots off of items on the table.

Exclusive street art
The new packaging will feature an exclusive collection of original street art from twelve artists from around the world and will appear on medium and large French fry boxes.

Using image recognition, the back of the boxes trigger the downloadable McDonalds GOL! app. A soccer pitch will appear in an augmented reality scene on the screen, with the fry box as the goal and other built-in objects as obstacles.

Players can “kick” the ball with the flick of a finger and divert or use obstacles to get the ball into the goal.

Instructions for how to download the app will be available on the back of each specially designed fry box or on

The new fry boxes will be available throughout the duration of the 2014 FIFA World Cup while supplies last.

Driving brand value
While brands have been embracing augmented reality for creative engagement opportunities for some time, many of these efforts have been limited in scale. Some have also not taken full advantage of the technology with straightforward applications enabling mobile users to pose next to a popular character from a book or movie, for example.

The McDonalds effort is notable for both the scope of the campaign as well as its creativity, with the use of exclusive street art and the integration of technology in a way that is both fun and engaging for consumers while also driving brand value.

The new Smart Terrain 3D reconstruction capability, a just-announced feature of the Qualcomm Vuforia mobile vision platform, enables a truly unique mobile gaming experience and McDonalds is the first brand to use this capability in a commercial application, said Jay Wright, vice president of product management for QualcommConnected Experiences Inc., San Diego.

The GOL! mobile app allows users to build their own play space within the game using everyday objects in the players environment, he said.

For example, a player can score a soccer trick shot by bouncing the ball off their soft drink cup and into the digital goal. This capability brings a whole new level of interactivity and fun to augmented reality experiences.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York


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