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McDonald’s USA Rings in Lunar New Year Through Innovative Collaboration with Viral Video Creator Karen X Cheng
- Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023
McDonald's and IW Group collaborate with Karen X Cheng on groundbreaking use of AI-powered NeRF to create revoluationary Lunar New Year spot
The Golden Arches is hopping into the Year of the Rabbit by partnering with award-winning, viral digital content creator Karen X Cheng to launch an interactive Lunar New Year campaign meeting brand fans where they are – in culture, technology and even the metaverse. The collaboration includes creative designs by Cheng, an experiential AR filter, an immersive metaverse experience, and even a commercial of the future using AI technology. Cheng, a longtime brand fan, is excited to bring her heritage and that of the AAPI community to life in an innovative way with McDonald’s this season. Fans can join in on the fun today via www.McDLunarNewYear.com.
“We know our fans live at the intersection of innovation and culture and that’s where McDonald’s needs to meet them,” said Elizabeth Campbell, McDonald’s Senior Director, Cultural Engagement Strategy. “Our collaboration with Karen X Cheng offers new, tech-forward ways to experience the Year of the Rabbit while also honoring the legacy of the holiday and uplifting the AAPI community. The Golden Arches is proud to kickstart the new year with an interactive campaign that invites our fans to become active participants in a global cultural celebration."
Regarded as one of the most influential digital creators in the world, Karen is known for her whimsical viral videos and collaborations with A-list celebrities, which have amassed over 500 million views. The partnership with McDonald’s marks the San Francisco-based artist’s first brand partnership recognizing and celebrating her Chinese American heritage. “Teaming up with McDonald’s to create a campaign that not only leans into my passions as a creator but also my cultural identity is a dream come true,” said Karen Cheng. “As a longtime Golden Arches fan, it’s an honor to be provided with a creative canvas that allows me to share my personal story as well as showcase my expression of the holiday to a wider audience.”
The campaign, created by IW Group for McDonald's, aims to foster Lunar New Year values of togetherness, joy, and optimism through unconventional and traditional channels. "Building on last year's groundbreaking Lunar New Year campaign, which featured a Golden Arches' trailblazing event in the metaverse, our goal was to utilize state-of-the-art technology to elevate the virtual and interactive experiences for brand fans,” said Nita Song, President & Chief Momentum Officer at IW Group. Elements include:
- Augmented reality (AR) filter - Available on Instagram, the filter lets brand fans experience the transition from the Year of the Tiger (2022) to the Year of the Rabbit (2023) through a breathtaking 3D illusion.
- Metaverse Experience - Imagining what a Lunar New Year celebration might look like in the future, the virtual space blends traditional Asian influences with futuristic elements, including 3D sculptures of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals. Hosted on Spatial and accessible through any connected device, the experience will allow brand fans to ring in the holiday with guests from around the world and attend special events -- including a Year of the Rabbit celebration (Jan 25) and an evening with the artist (Feb 2) -- featuring Karen in avatar form.
- AI-powered television commercial - Inspired by Karen’s childhood memories of Lunar New Year, the ad spot is one of the first to incorporate NeRF (neural radiance fields) technology, which utilizes artificial intelligence to create a 3D scene. Viewers are invited to scan an on-screen QR code to experience the artwork featured in the commercial as an interactive AR filter.
About Karen X Cheng
Named Inc’s 30 Under 30 (2018) and Adweek’s Creative 100 (2018), Karen’s eye-grabbing content blends her passion for innovation and personal storytelling. Some of her most popular videos include learning to dance in a year, creating the first artificially intelligent magazine cover, and making a VR dance video for the metaverse.
McDonald’s and the AAPI community
As part of McDonald’s ongoing commitment to celebrating culture and serving communities, the Golden Arches supports and empowers AAPIs through year-long programs dedicated to ensuring that AAPIs feel seen and heard. In addition to celebrating important cultural moments like Lunar New Year, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Mid-Autumn Festival and Diwali, McDonald’s is also committed to addressing the needs of AAPI youth with initiatives like APA Next, an AAPI-focused education initiative launched in 2021 to address the unique needs of AAPI students.
About McDonald's USA
McDonald’s USA, LLC, serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to millions of customers every day. Ninety-five percent of McDonald’s approximately 13,500 U.S. restaurants are owned and operated by independent business owners. For more information, visit www.mcdonalds.com, or follow us on Twitter @McDonalds and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mcdonalds.
Chief Marketing Officer: Tariq Hassan, VP, Marketing: Jennifer Healan, Sr Director of Marketing: Elizabeth Campbell, Marketing Manager: Joomi Lee, Production Operations Supervisor: Elizabeth Riley-Green, Studio Production Manager: Maddie Ramirez
AGENCY: IW GROUP
Chief Content Officer: Telly Wong, Creative Director: Heather Hannasch, Associate Creative Director: Mike Anapolsky, VP, Client Partner: Flora Zhao, Head of Production: Sid Kim, Producer: Hugh Bacher
PRODUCTION: PICTURE NORTH @picture.north
Director: Jose Norton, Producer: Kelsey Gilchrist, Production Supervisor: Ambar Servin, Production Coordinator: Corrie Rose, 1st AD: Francesca Bravos, DP: Sing Howe Yam, 1st AC: Jeanne Kim, 2nd AC: Nick Menio, DIT: Lanlin Wong, Steadicam: Jun Li, On-Set VFX Supervisor: Luke Snedcore, Gaffer: Alex Emmons, Key Grip: Justin Duquette, Grip: Bill Zuehl, Pat Metzler, Sound Mixer: Curtis Mansfield, VTR: Gene Balitski, Production Designer: Lee Levy, Prop Master: Seth Powsner, Wardrobe: Eunice Sera Lee, Hair & Makeup: Yuri Janice Choi, Art Director: Chris Anderson, Virtual Production: @allofitnow, Virtual Camera Techs: Anthony Vasquez, Ismael "Izzy" Medina | Executive Producers: @ryanpatrickus @martin.rodahl @nehadattschultz, Head of Production: @mattbobbitt, Head of Operations: @_michaelnowicki, Post-Production Supervisor: @snuzbach
POST-PRODUCTION: Editor: Jose Norton, VFX by: Nathan Matsuda; Color: AFX Creative: Colorist: Derek Hansen, Color Assist: Zack Hetlage, AFX Producer: Amanada Ornelas; NeRF Tech: @luma_ai: CEO/Co-Founder: Amit Jain, Co-Founder: Alex Yu, On-set support: David ‘Navi’ Romero, Creative Technologist: George Corney
Karen X Cheng as herself, '90s Karen: Chloe Lee, '90s Karen's Mom: Jenny Chen, '90s Karen's Dad: Gary Liu
Chief Content Officer