McDonalds – Happinated Game Design, Animation, Website Creation, and Social Media Strategy

mccafe home 02
“Happinated” was one of the biggest projects on a short timeline I was ever involved in. To help launch McCafe in the region, we approached McDonald’s with Happinated.com––a micro site that featured an interactive game, a downloadable coupon, product descriptions and Twitter updates to create a social media buzz. Happinated.com received over 18,000 hits in two months and 4,000 downloaded coupons.  About 25% of the visitors to the site signed up to receive emails, which we later used to send out an email blast featuring McCafe products highlighting the colder drinks for the summer months.

This campaign had a lot of moving parts: character design, a story that had to be crafted, and photography, online ads, email blasts, and social media/community management plan that had to be executed in concert…and there still had to be a website!


The website was constructed to create a fun look that complimented the new McCafe line. There were options to sign up to an email list for additional coupons for various discounts and to follow us on Twitter. We were one of the first to adopt using Twitter for social promotion, and had a lot of success acquiring followers and brand loyalists. The happy and quirky tone of voice, with the frequent opportunities for free giveaways made the @happinated account a successful foray into social media.

The difficult part of this project was the game.

I knew up front that the art style didn’t just need to be visually appealing, but it also needed 1) to have as small a file size footprint as possible 2) be as minimal a resource hog 3) be able to be produced and implemented into animation and game engine QUICKLY. I sketched out some concepts and quickly worked them into vector format. We shifted to making the head more oversized, so that the emotions that would be displayed (when everything would be shrunk down) would be visible and prominent.

mccafe illustrations
I then made multiple parts: heads, eyes, arms, legs, etc so other artists could replicate the process and create additional characters while I focused on designing the office.
mccafe heads

Again, I tried to focus on making “parts” for items, so they could be applied to creating other items.
mccafe office

I then moved towards creating the animations for the characters. The most time-consuming was a simple walking direction in two different directions (up-right and down-right), which was then mirrored to create up-left and down-left.

mccafe walking animation