McDonald’s: Partnerships, personalisation and swings

The fast food chain has been busy adapting to customers’ changing demands, writes Campaign Middle East editor Justin Harper

McDonald’s has been busy across the UAE working on partnerships, sponsorships, personalisation and more.

Campaign Middle East editor Justin Harper spoke with McDonald’s UAE Senior Marketing Director Hassan Abouezzeddine to find out more.

“Throughout our journey, we’ve nurtured partnerships that we truly cherish, embodying our commitment to make a positive impact on our local community and we actively seek collaborations that yield lasting significance,” he said.

This includes a longstanding connection with Emirates Environmental Group which spans over a decade, during which the fast food chain closely collaborated on a range of environmental initiatives, including tree planting, can collection and the Clean UAE programme.

McDonald’s UAE also has an ongoing partnership with Emirates Red Crescent, through which it has effectively raised more than AED 1.8 million to provide support to those in need in the UAE.

Most recently, it launched the McDonald’s Junior Padel Academy that paved the way for partnerships with diverse padel clubs across the UAE.

The academy makes padel, the world’s fastest growing sport, accessible to kids aged 8 to 12 years old, giving them the opportunity to sharpen their skills, have fun, socialise and grow while learning everything about padel from the best coaches in the UAE.


In its restaurants, McDonald’s is continuously enhancing personalisation within its menu strategy.

“Our approach revolves around infusing a sense of novelty and excitement by introducing seasonal and limited-time offerings. These offerings are meticulously crafted to resonate with the individual preferences of our customers throughout the UAE,” said Abouezzeddine.

“Let’s consider the introduction of our Rice Bowls. Recognising the local penchant for rice, we embarked on a journey to curate flavour-rich rice dishes.”

Based  on customer feedback, three of these rice dishes secured a permanent spots on its menu, solidifying their place as beloved favourites amongst McDonald’s diverse customer base.

The fast food chain has also embraced personalisation through self-ordering kiosks, providing customers with a customisable and seamless dining experience.

Changing needs

McDonald’s UAE has embraced a customer-centric approach, and places great emphasis on improving the customer experience and convenience.

One way is through updates to the McDonald’s App, ensuring a smooth experience whether it’s for customers in a rush who want to order ahead, those seeking table service, individuals who prefer drive-thru pickup or those who want their meal delivered to their doorstep.

The app also includes a loyalty rewards programme that allows customers to earn rewards points and redeem them for their favourite menu items.

Recently McDonald’s introduced a curbside order pick-up service at its Umm Suqeim restaurant, with plans to expand this convenience across the UAE.

“This service allows our customers to place their orders through the McDonald’s App and pickup from dedicated parking spaces without having to leave their cars, seamlessly blending technology, and convenience to enhance their overall experience.”

 Award winners

 For its Drive-Thru School campaign, McDonald’s collaborated with the Emirates Driving Institute. “We recognised the increasing popularity of the Drive-Thru service, and the simple truth of the challenges new drivers face while navigating them,” added Abouezzeddine.

McDonald’s designed a programme that placed a realistic-looking drive-thru school within the driving practice circuit of Emirates Driving Institute.

This allowed students to learn how to navigate a McDonald’s Drive-Thru in a safe and controlled environment. “The setup was identical to our actual Drive-Thru, providing new drivers with valuable hands-on experience and insights into successfully navigating these lanes.”

The work picked up a Dubai Lynx Grand Prix in the Direct category. Leo Burnett, Dubai was the creative agency and production was by Prodigious, Dubai.

Another award-winning campaign was the the McDonald’s swings stunt, where it strategically placed swings throughout the city of Dubai.

The McDonald’s swings, settled under the iconic Golden Arches, provided “a delightful escape for countless passersby” in locations including Media City, Internet City, Knowledge Village and Kite Beach.

“By offering this opportunity for playtime, we aimed to help people momentarily step away from the everyday stresses of life.

“This was driven by our desire to restore the joy of childhood among UAE residents, aligning with our commitment to establish genuine connections with our community.”

As a result of the campaign’s success, McSwings  picked up a gold award from Dubai Lynx in the Outdoor category, with Leo Burnett, Dubai as the creative agency.