Case Study:

Motivating 100,000 Kiwi Kids – McDonalds New Zealand

My Greatest Feat was a physical activity program underwritten by McDonalds New Zealand who were official sponsors of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Involving approximately 100,000 children in each year, My Greatest Feat became hugely successful snow balling into the biggest physical activity programme ever undertaken in New Zealand.

The idea for the programme is very proudly claimed by Gumboot.com’s founder Phil Jones who after watching a television documentary about child obesity pitched the concept of a pedometer based challenge targeted at primary school aged children to his JAG Consultants business partner Bruce Grant. The key to the idea was to provide immediate reward – when a child enters her steps into the application they should receive immediate positive reinforcement, thus encouraging further activity contributing towards receiving the ultimate goal of completing a virtual walk of New Zealand (2008) and South Africa (2010).

JAG embraced the concept and approached McDonalds New Zealand who made it (with the support of the New Zealand Olympic Committee and New Zealand Football) the focus of their sponsorship of the 2008 Olympics and 2010 FIFA World Cup. JAG Consultants, with Gumboot.com as its development arm, worked closely with McDonald’s marketing and PR company Tribal DDB (now Tribal Worldwide) over the course of a year to develop and tune the concept in time for both events.

Special mention should be made of the commitment of McDonalds to the project which involved considerable cost and logistics to provide in excess of 100,000 pedometers (for both events) to New Zealand’s primary school children.

In a pre-cloud computing world from a software engineering perspective the project was daunting. How do you provide a web based service to more than 100,000 users, many of whom will want to use it at the same time ie. straight after interval. The project was scheduled to run over a two week period so there was no time to tweak software to address performance problems – it had to work from day one.

Gumboot.com developed a highly optimised solution that minimised the loading on the application and database servers, eliminating potential bottlenecks to performance such as database record locking and pushing as much of the processing into the web client. During the event Gumboot monitored the servers for performance delivering 100% uptime during the event.

My Greatest Feat won multiple New Zealand and global awards for Tribal Worldwide and McDonalds New Zealand and hopefully had a long term positive impact on a lot of Kiwi kids.

Duration of engagement – 2 years

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