How We Built the mobile game Deal Catcher

A case study for the design, UX and technology behind McDonald’s Sweden’s latest finger twisting campaign.

Mobile gaming lends a helping hand to drive sales for McDonald’s.

The Challenge

McDonald’s wanted to engage younger target groups over the summer months in order to increase the guest count at their restaurants during July and August. This is traditionally a period of lower activity due to the fact that people are spending more time at the beach, at their summer houses and abroad.

The competition is, as always, aggressive and a strong value proposition together with a fun and strong solution was asked for in order to maintain McDonald’s competitive advantage.

The biggest hurdle was of course to make people visit the restaurants to a higher degree, get more user onboard the McDonald’s mobile app and to keep them activated, both during the campaign period and in the long run.

We set out to encourage the target group to literally play with the brand in a digital and mobile context in order to drive sales and also to further strengthen the perception of the brand amongst the chosen population. We also wanted to create something that was reusable, flexible, secure, engaging, scalable and reasonable quick to launch on the market.

The playing field was set. The game was on.


Drawn from our experience from earlier projects and campaigns we had done together with McDonald’s advertising agency DDB Stockholm, it was clear that some kind some interactive experience such as a game connected to the products found on the menu at the restaurants was the way forward.

Based on market research and earlier campaigns we could also see that when digital activations such as games, entertainment and engaging challenges were held, the target group tended to react in a very positive way.

Inspired by these insights, we set out to produce a mobile game game together with McDonald’s advertising agency DDB Stockholm who came up with the initial creative ideas and conceptual framework. We had one clear direction, to make sure that people played the game and visited the restaurants.

To make sure that people played the game and to ensure that the adequate sales targets were reached, we needed to put in a lot of effort of creating great value propositions and products for the customers as well as making sure they played the game many times during the campaign period.


Inspired by the classic 60s social game ”Twister”, we took it to another level with DDB. Using four fingers on the screen at the same time, the players were spurred on to win better deals which they could trade in at their local McDonald’s restaurant. The deals were diverse and the discount prices varied a lot as well.

The game invites the players to catch deals with their fingers on the screen of their mobile phones. A maximum of four fingers are needed to win great deals. The deals were very diversified and was a combination of burgers, fries, nuggets, sodas, lemonades and other products from the menu at McDonald’s.

The game was to reward constant playing. Every day, a new great deal could be won which could be redeemed at every McDonald’s restaurant in Sweden.

To emphasize, support and to further strengthen the ongoing local sales-driving campaign ”Donken Deals”, the name of the game was chosen to be ”Donken Deal Catcher” or just ”Deal Catcher”. The name Deal Catcher refers to the fact that the players tries to catch great deals at a discounted price which can be bought afterwards at their local McDonald’s restaurant. There was also a chance for people to get free stuff from McDonald’s by catching jokers on the screen during the game sessions.

Gameplay in action.


The choice was made early on to build Deal Catcher with HTML 5 and CSS 3 upon the Google Cloud Platform.

Deal Catcher is a web application embedded in the native McDonald’s app and the full list of languages, tools, frameworks and technologies used are as follows:

  • HTML 5, CSS 3 & ECMA Script 6/Babel
  • Google Polymer, Create JS, Page.js & Bowser
  • Gulp, Node.js & Google Sheets

The advantages of using a common web application is that the end user doesn’t need to download and/or install anything new on their smartphones. The integration of the game is seamless and fast loading even on lower-end devices which makes sure the experience of playing Deal catcher is simple, fun and engaging for the users. For McDonald’s, the upsides of the technical solution are among the following:

  • No update of the current core application is needed.
  • No update of Appstore and Google Play necessary.
  • Lower development risks and associated costs.
  • Scalable solution for adaption to other markets.
  • Flexibility to fine-tune and change products, offers, vouchers and parameters of gameplay during the campaign period.
  • Depending on campaign outcome, the easy to use backend makes sure that level of difficulty can be adjusted on a day to day basis.

We used Google Analytics as a tracking tool for the gaming experience and Vmob voucher redemption backend for keeping an eye on the campaign results at the restaurants. By having daily checkups, we adjusted the campaign according to these live results.

Deal Catcher works on iOS 7 and Android 4.4.2 and is fully playable on smaller screens such as an iPhone 4.

Good clean UX and design for all budding deal catchers out there.

The Team

The guys and girls responsible for making Donken Deal Catcher coming to life is: Alexander Eneroth - Lead Developer David Håkansson - Testing Specialist Elisabeth Jonasson - Business Director Fredrik Gunnarsson - Communications Designer Håkan Rasmussen - Developer Joakim Lodén - Developer Josef Rhawi - Analyst Linnea Strid - UX Designer Martin Gustafsson - Communications Director Martin Ring - Designer Mattias Henell - Tech Lead Olle Havemose - Support Specialist Wayne Knoesen - Executive Producer

Advertising Agency: DDB Stockholm Media Agency: OMD Stockholm

My name is Martin Gustafsson and I work as Communications Director at apegroup: a design, technology & communication agency in Stockholm, Sweden. We help organisations build great digital products with engaging content. Want to know more about how we work? Learn more at our website.

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Apegroup — Behind the Screens

Thoughts, learnings and opinions from a digital product studio in Sweden who deliver world-class design, technology and communication.

Martin Gustafsson

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Your friendly business dude at Apegroup. Ad aspera ad astra.

Apegroup — Behind the Screens

Thoughts, learnings and opinions from a digital product studio in Sweden who deliver world-class design, technology and communication.