Parallel Worlds: ‘The McDonald’s of Asia’ Kicks Off Its Digital Initiatives

Manolo Almagro, Weekly Columnist

This week we slide to a parallel world that has the reputation of being the world’s number 1 country for generating SMS traffic, and the 3rd largest English speaking country in Asia . Welcome to The Philippines, which- by all accounts should be my home country, but sadly- I’m definitely more American than Filipino, so I can’t make that claim. In this world, I’d be labeled a “coconut” – i.e. brown on the outside, but white on the inside.

The Philippines mobile + wireless technology has leapfrogged traditional copper line (POTS) services, with prepaid mobile broadband the number one way most people access the internet. Based on current growth statistics, it is predicted that by 2012 – this country, along with Vietnam and Indonesia will account for 70% of the South East Asia’s internet users.

This parallel world offers some unique scenarios where- Yahoo has beat Google for the number one search engine slot and a home-grown quick service restaurant chain (Jollibee) emerged victorious over McDonald’s as the country’s largest and dominant QSR.

Image Courtesy- New York Times

I’ve been spending a lot of time in this parallel world, working with Jollibee Foods Corporation (the company often called “McDonald’s of Asia“) to engineer several digital initiatives that will be kicked off the coming months. Each project will build on the premise of an integrated “digital ecosystem” which includes a worldwide in-store digital signage network, digital merchandisers, outdoor screens for the drive-thru, mobile, online and in-store e-commerce experiences. The core emphasis of these initiatives is to leverage a massive data warehouse that will be used to correlate, analyze customer purchase behaviors, monitor on-line dialogs for brand insights, and determine how these activities relate to the marketing campaigns launched on each digital platform.

3 Responses to “Parallel Worlds: ‘The McDonald’s of Asia’ Kicks Off Its Digital Initiatives”

  1. Janette Toral Says:

    Looking forward to Jollibee’s digital initiatives Manolo. =)

  2. Aiza Says:

    I hope you don’t give someone a heart attack when he finds out you’ve already broadcasted this to the world. LOL!

  3. bea Says:

    How interesting! I’m from Manila and I don’t associate Jollibee with “digital”… While McDonald’s already has an online delivery service on

    It would be interesting to see how well Jollibee can integrate their content strategy into all of those touchpoints for an engaging sales push. Will stay on the lookout!

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