ITV 50 Years of Fame: Private view - McDonald's
By Toby Roberts, the head of strategy at OMD UK, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 23 September 2005 12:00AM
The work on display here is, without a doubt, some of the finest advertising to ever grace television screens. It is intelligent, charming, insightful and beautifully crafted. And, perhaps most surprisingly of all, considering that McDonald's is an American brand, it is very, very British.
Speaking as a media man, this is the sort of creative we love. It makes our job - getting advertising noticed by the right audience - an awful lot easier.
We kick off with "a day in the life" (1), a series of vignettes and split screens, showing the full gamut of McDonald's offerings and customer base.
This ad was essentially designed to introduce McDonald's to the great British public. Quite how the agency managed to fit so much into one execution is incre-dible. The fact that it works so well makes it even more remarkable.
Next we get "birds and bees" (3), which, in my opinion, is the pick of a very strong bunch. A flustered father is asked a series of increasingly probing questions about where babies come from by his six-year-old daughter.
After failing to deflect her, he eventually manages it by suggesting a trip to McDonald's. Suddenly everything seems fine as the daughter gets excited about sitting down with her Happy Meal. The father breathes a visible sigh of relief and then the daughter delivers the punchline "And you can have a Big Mac and tell me all about it." Genius.
More belly laughs with "McRuby" (2), an affectionate spoof of the 70s cinema ads for your local curry house. Everything is perfect, from the obviously washed-out tint of the "library footage" of authentic India, the 70s-catalogue-style models who make up the customers, the abrupt and badly timed cut to the endframe and the magnificently awful endline: "For curry in a hurry, poppadum to your local McDonald's." It really took me back to the old days.
A slightly more vicious sending up next, but hey, it's mocking estate agents (4), so we don't care. "This is the amount of work an estate agent needs to do to be able to afford a McDonald's cheeseburger." Cut to an estate agent opening a door. "Lounge," he announces, and promptly shuts the door in the face of his "customers". End of ad.
We then move on to a beautifully shot paean to childhood. "Being six" (5) reminds us all of the trials and tribulations of the happiest time of your life - being bullied by your elder brother, falling off your bike, standing in line to get your jabs at school and being mauled by hordes of aunts who could be straight from a PG Wodehouse tale. Of course, a visit to McDonald's is compensation, but the fact that our hero has to go with his mother, who continually wipes his face with the napkins, ensures that the ad does not risk being overly sentimental or schmaltzy.
Finally, we have the "chanter" (6) execution, which ran during the 2004 European Championship. The hero is a football fan prompted to compose impromptu football chants by everything he sees in his immediate surroundings.
The perfect casting and sheer absurdity of the chants themselves ("You're going home in a painted narrowboat") make it impossible to convey the ad's comedy on paper. Hopefully, they'll run it again during next year's World Cup. It is also an example of how, in a world where everyone seems to be jumping on the football bandwagon, a real insight into how supporters think can really bring your brand closer to consumers.
1. MCDONALD'S Title: A day in the life Agency: Leo Burnett Year: 1989 2. MCDONALD'S Title: McRuby Agency: Leo Burnett Year: 1999 3. MCDONALD'S Title: Birds and bees Agency: Leo Burnett Year: 1996 4. MCDONALD'S Title: Estate agent Agency: Leo Burnett Year: 2000 5. MCDONALD'S Title: Being six Agency: Leo Burnett Year: 2002 6. MCDONALD'S Title: Chanter Agency: Leo Burnett Year: 2004
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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