McDonald’s is launching an all-out ad blitz for its new line of McCafe premium coffees — and one of the first places you’ll see the branding is on YouTube. McDonald’s has rolled out a rich media spread on the YouTube homepage, taking advantage of one of the video site’s new ad formats: the “tandem masthead” (pictured here). Lionsgate first tested the two-unit ads, which share creative across the top and side of the screen, about a month ago; YouTube is making the tandem ads an option for all advertisers as of today.
YouTube Product Manager Zal Bilimoria spins it as a major coup, since it will be McDonald’s first rich-media buy on YouTube. (McDonald’s previously ran video ads on the homepage — but it wasn’t for a high-profile product launch). The fast food giant joins ABC, *Electronic Arts* and Volvo as brands that have taken a chance on YouTube’s larger, flashier ad units; Volvo tested another unit, the “expandable masthead” — it incorporated photos, videos and a Twitter feed, no less — which YouTube is also offering up to advertisers across the board.
Bilimoria said YouTube decided to make the experimental ad units a permanent part of its roster after tests found that the original homepage mastheads (which YouTube debuted in January) had user interaction rates that were about “three times higher than other rich media units of a similar size.” The McDonald’s campaign serves as the latest sign that YouTube is making some progress in its quest to legitimize itself as a hub for premium ads and content: it made it easier to find and promote full-length movies in mid-April, shortly after sealing a rev-sharing deal with *Disney* for special ESPN (NYSE: DIS), Disney/ABC channels.