Fast food chains are often criticised by campaigners for contributing to public health problems such as obesity. As a result, many major names in the industry are often keen to do more than simply promote their products and base entire marketing campaigns around corporate social responsibility matters.

McDonald’s, for instance, has just launched a new initiative based around boosting grassroots football – a timely move in light of the new football season getting underway this month. This has been designed to enable McDonald’s to strengthen its links with local communities across the UK and encourage young people to exercise at the same time. It can therefore tangibly demonstrate that it wants people to live healthy lifestyles and engage with others in a positive way.

The #CelebrateBetter campaign will be led by user-generated content, with members of the public being invited to post photos of their children celebrating a goal on Twitter. Lucky winners will then get the chance to go to the Uefa Euro 2016 tournament in France and be a player escort.

McDonald’s launched the initiative by setting up a display on Olympic Way and the Bobby Moore Bridge, which is going to tour the country throughout August. Visitors will be asked to get involved with activities such as The Kneeslider, where they can demonstrate their goal celebrating prowess.

Steve Hill, Marketing Director at McDonald’s, commented: “It’s about celebrating all aspects of the game and to allow families to #CelebrateBetter. It’s the first time we’ve ran a Twitter campaign of this scale and the first time we’ve done a user-generated content campaign on football. We have restaurants up and down the country and want to ensure we create a connection with these communities.”

Mr Hill pointed out that McDonald’s has been sponsoring football for more than a decade. However, it is keen to shift its focus to grassroots football, not to find “the next Wayne Rooney”, but to celebrate the achievements of everyone from the players to coaches and the players’ parents.¬†He added that the campaign has already generated positive results, with its number of Twitter followers going up by a fifth since it was launched.

The campaign has been endorsed by a number of leading figures from the football world, including former Manchester United player and current Assistant Manager Ryan Giggs and World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst. Casey Stoney of the England women’s football team has also signed up as a football ambassador for the initiative.

McDonald’s marketing boss on why it’s rolling out its biggest ever football campaign, Marketing¬†