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McDonald’s All American High School Basketball Games

The Challenge

To support the 2006 McDonald’s All American Games hosted in San Diego, NST led the marketing and communication efforts aimed at selling out the games and raising more than $400,000 to help Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego build a new facility to house families in medical crisis. The challenge for NST was that in its 28-year history, the McDonald’s All American Games had never sold out and had never raised that amount for the local Ronald McDonald House Charities chapter in the host city.

The Tactics

NST coordinated a full-scale marketing campaign utilizing a variety of unique strategies and tactics to raise awareness of the event including:

  • Public relations and media credential organization – Media-generating and buzz-building events included a press conference announcing the Games, a ticket announcement featuring a basketball clinic for a school that received a grant from RMHC to build a new playground, a press conference to announce the local player who made the McDonald’s All American team, and a "McCoaches Night," where coaches worked at a McDonald’s restaurant to raise funds for their schools.
  • Strategic partnerships and grassroots outreach – Strategic partnerships were established with key groups to promote and distribute event information, and sell tickets on a grassroots level. Key partnerships included San Diego High School Coaches Association, CIF Championships basketball tournament, San Diego WNBL team "The Siege," the Los Angeles Staples Center and TicketMaster.
  • Street team marketing – Street teams were deployed to reach a target audience – the elusive young adult male. The teams appeared at high profile events and distributed promotional items to thousands of potential ticket buyers.
  • Contests and promotions – Ticket giveaways, which included additional promotional mentions, were coordinated with media partners to build excitement and create further awareness of both the McDonald’s All American Games and Jam Fest.
  • Media partnerships – PSAs were negotiated with several television and radio stations including Clear Channel radio. To rise above the clutter and increase event relevance to target audiences, NST coordinated with celebrities Nick Cannon and LaDainian Tomlinson to record PSAs.

The Results

Game week activities were covered extensively by print and broadcast media, ultimately securing the most media coverage in the Games’ history with more than 200 placements. For the first time in the Games’ history, both the Jam Fest and the All American Games were sold out. The event raised $350,000 for the new Ronald McDonald House, just shy of the goal, but still more than any previous market had raised. The McDonald’s game organizers who coordinate the event with new markets each year stated the 2006 San Diego Games were "the most well organized, well marketed and most successful in the history of the event."

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