In Hong Kong, McDonald's hijacks police drama

Dim Jack share his sauces.
Dim Jack share his sauces.

A local McDonald's mascot puts in an unexpected visit in a popular TV drama

HONG KONG — Right after a shootout scene from the popular HKTV police drama “Borderline” (警界線), a McDonald's spokescharacter appears to disrupt the plot—in a newfangled method of product placement made possible with the flexibility of online broadcasting.

Client: McDonald's
Agency: OMD, DDB
Market: Hong Kong

Campaign scope: HKTV's online drama, radio, magazines, social networking sites, in-store

Details: To add some extra cheer and excitement to its festive Christmas campaign, McDonald’s has brought back a regional McNuggets-sauce-burglar character,Jack the Dipper ('Dim Jack' in Cantonese, a sort of cross between the Hamburglar and the Joker).

This time, the character's personality displays an unexpected twist: instead of stealing dipping sauces from others, Jack actually shares his sauces—on-screen with the leading characters from popular HKTV drama Borderline (警界線).

The video (see above) shows the original 10-second shootout scene from the last episode, followed by the 30-second 'hijack'.

The campaign message is an innocuous "一齊dip 一齊share 開心好多!" ("It’s more fun when you dip and share!") that promotes McDonald’s new product: a 'Dip Dip Sharing Box' that combines all the brand's dippable foods (McWings, McNuggets, Chicken McBites) with four dipping sauces.

The company launched a teaser TVCprior to the drama-hijack to reignite memories of Jack stealing people’s sauces.

Quote: Yvonne Tang, marketing director, McDonald’s:"The hijack video has really caused a stir among consumers who are truly engaged by our message. Netizens have taken to social platforms commenting how much they love this smart way of advertising, with some even searching online for the specific episode of Borderline after watching the commercial."

Our comments: This is indeed a crossover between conventional advertising spots and normal product placements on TV. While it is not a seamless sync with program content and in fact quite abrupt and interruptive, blending in the branded character into the scene rides on continuity of the viewing experience and allows for a little more receptivity to the commercial exposure.

What is more impressive is the backstory behind the hijack idea. This drama was filmed a couple of years ago (with previews posted on YouTube) in anticipation of HKTV's free-to-air license application being approved (which, of course, was rejected unceremoniously in October 2013).

McDonald's agencies posed the idea to HKTV (formally launched on Nov. 19) only last month to reenact the exact same scenes, leading to a scurry to arrange location permits, accommodate actor schedules and re-create wardrobe. Total costs for the media slots were reportedly more or less the same as a standard TV spot, but the value derived from the idea is certainly larger than the sum.

Campaign Credits

Client: McDonald’s Hong Kong
Creative Agency: DDB Group Hong Kong
ECD: Clifford Ng
Creative Team: Frankie Fung, Paul Yu, Ben Ling, Tony Cheung, Nelson Tsui
Account Servicing: Jan Lee, Tom Wong, Koey Kong, Connie Yeung
Planner: Andreas Krasser
Producer: Annie Tong, Denise Wong

Media Agency: OMD Hong Kong
Planning: Germaine Tse, Tiffany Cheng, Phoebe Ng, Yvonne Chiu
Buying: Derek Yip, Eppie Tsang, Pez Mo, Verna Kwan
Digital: Queenie Shek, Kenneth Li

Director: M.C. So
Sales Team: Augustin Cheng, Agnes Chen
Production Team: Lilian Fung
Marketing Team
Artists: Lawrence Chou, Joman Chiang

TVC Directors: Man Chung – Film Factory, Barry Mok – Bingo

This article first appeared on

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