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McDonald's gets a bite of Fifa WC with Player Escort Program

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MUMBAI: As a worldwide sponsor and Official Partner of the 2006 Fifa World Cup McDonald's introduces the Player Escort Program, which allows 1,408 children aged 6 to 10 years to walk onto the field hand-in-hand with the world's best football players, at the start of all 64 official World Cup matches.

Selected from a total of 51 countries, this year's Player Escort Program consists of 226 international children and 1,182 children from host country Germany, informs an official release.

In addition, the McDonald's Player Escorts will also get a chance to experience the thrill of the Fifa World Cup through friendly football matches as part of their own tournament held in select cities in Germany during the World Cup, adds the release.

As a key marketing strategy, McDonald's outlets around the world, are involving customers through special promotions, contests, advertisements, in-store activations and special menu items to bring the excitement of Fifa World Cup to local communities. For example, McDonald's outlets in India have introduced a Foosball Freekick indoor table football game, where kids get the chance to take penalty shots against a goalkeeper and win prizes. In addition, special meals centred around the football theme cater to kids and adults alike.

Using the Internet as a medium, McDonald's customers around the world have a chance to participate in the Fifa World Cup experience through an exclusive global sponsorship of the McDonald's/FIFA Fantasy Game on http://www.FIFAworldcup.com, available in nine languages. The game offers football fans the opportunity to manage a squad of football superstars and compete against celebrity fantasy teams.

To top it all, McDonald's is also giving away thousands of 2006 Fifa World Cup tickets through in-restaurant promotions, media tie-ins and special employee incentives in select McDonald's markets, adds the release.

McDonald's corporate VP Global Marketing Jeff Carl said, "McDonald's has the ability to touch more than 50 million people each day, so we are in the unique position to deliver the fun and excitement of one of the world's most prestigious football events in truly engaging and surprising ways."

In keeping with the company's "i'm lovin' it" strategy of developing stronger connections with its customers around the world, Carl added, "Because we want our customers to feel closer to the World Cup, we have created a wide range of exclusive activities to bring the tournament to life."

McDonald's has served as sponsor and Official Partner of the Fifa World Cup since 1994 in the United States, continuing through 1998 in France, 2002 in Korea and Japan and 2006 in Germany and in true football spirit, their active efforts once again keep the fever rising high!

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