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06/30/2022

McDonald’s takes you to summer camp – via smartphone

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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McDonald’s is offering a summer camp you don’t have to leave home to attend.

At Camp McDonald’s, there is no need to worry about sunburn, bug bites or poison ivy.

Starting Tuesday, July 5, McDonald’s USA LLC is launching “Camp McDonald’s,” a virtual summer camp experience accessible via the McDonald’s consumer app. Every day from July 5-31, customers can check the app for details on that day’s virtual events and offerings.

Camp McDonald’s includes special offers on menu items including the Big Macsandwich, Chicken McNuggets,and French fries. McDonald’s will also offer two special items customers can build themselves – an Apple Pie McFlurry and a McFlurry sandwich.

Every Sunday during the 27-day Camp McDonald’s session, the retailer will offer exclusive virtual concerts by musicians including Bibi, Omar Apollo, Blackbear, and headliner Kid Cudi.

And every Thursday during Camp McDonald’s, limited-edition merchandise collaborations will drop for purchase every Thursday, starting with apparel from Free & Easy and followed by apparel from Maket, skin care products from Innisfree and merchandise from Kid Cudi. On Camp McDonald’s opening day, July 5, the retailer will offer a retro Grimace pool float, featuring its “Grimace” promotional character, while supplies last.

Virtual summer camps move beyond pandemic
The idea of retailers offering virtual camps first caught on during the peak COVID-19 period of summer 2020, when many “real world” camps were shut down due to the pandemic. At that time, Amazon partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to launch Camp Prime, a free program open to everyone which was designed to virtually substitute for the in-person summer camp experience.

Camp Prime included the Camp Prime Handbook, a digital guide featuring activities using items from around the house, including building a classic campfire (minus the flames) visiting the camp canteen (the kitchen) to make healthy snacks, and learning to garden with an upcycled box.

The virtual experience also included corporate blog posts with how-to videos from experts who walked families through summer activities that could be enhanced with Amazon devices. Activities included building sailboats from pool noodles, family meditation, storytime, beatboxing, and dance class.

In addition, Amazon worked in promotion of its Alexa voice assistant by letting customers interacting with Alexa to get more information about the summer program and start out their camp day with an educational anecdote. Prime members also had access to additional themed content with Prime Video, Prime Reading, and Amazon Music as part of their memberships.

Chief Amazon rival Walmart also ran a virtual summer camp that provides families with access to 50 Camp by Walmart activities for free by visiting the Walmart app. Celebrity- and expert-led camp sessions, including morning kick-offs with “head camp counselor,” actor Neil Patrick Harris, rolled out across the summer.

McDonald's is the world's leading global foodservice retailer with more than 39,000 locations in over 100 countries. Ninety-five percent of McDonald's approximately 13,500 U.S. restaurants are owned and operated by independent business owners.