McCann-Erickson is updating one of the most famous campaigns of the
70s in its first work for Birds Eye Original and Best Beefburgers.
The agency is giving a new twist to the classic ’Ben and Mary’ ads,
created by CDP and directed by Alan Parker more than 20 years ago, which
starred two young children who bantered over their burgers.
McCanns’ campaign recasts the two children and updates their
relationship to give it a 90s feel. In the original ads, a love-lorn
Mary pined over Ben, who in turn spurned her advances in favour of his
burger-and-chips meal, before ultimately emigrating to Australia.
In the new campaign - the first since McCanns won the business this
February - Mary is transformed into a sassy football player who dishes
more cheek than she gets. The first commercial in the series shows her
scoring in a soccer match and drawing murmurs of approval from Ben - who
is shocked to discover that she is in fact his best friend’s sister. The
news forces him to go and have ’an emergency Birds Eye Beefburger’ with
However, their meal is interrupted by Mary coming home triumphantly and
challenging Ben to join her in a kickabout the following day. Ben makes
his excuses, but is then made to look stupid when his friend teases:
’He’s washing his hair.’
The ad, which will be backed by an initial pounds 2 million spend, is
the first for Birds Eye Beefburgers in four years and emphasises the
fact that the burgers ’taste as good today as they always did’.
The campaign is intended to reassure parents that the brand is made with
only ’select cuts of 100 per cent pure beef’ in the wake of concerns
The ad was written by Liz Pollard, art directed by Janet Newman and
directed by Richard Phillips through RJ Phillips. It is being backed by
press work created by the agency’s creative director, Mike Court.