Adwatch (Mar 7) top 20 recall: McDonalds

McDonald's ad shows 'first day at the office guy' relaxing at the restaurant
McDonald's ad shows 'first day at the office guy' relaxing at the restaurant

McDonalds ad plays on the emotional appeal of fast food without being too schmaltzy.

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Two-all-beef-patties-special sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun. I'm 47, and I can still say this in less than three seconds, which gets me fries with my Big Mac, or at least it did when I was seven in suburban Sydney.

Funny how some marketing ideas stick. I suppose I've always carried a torch for McDonald's, even though it got a super-sized shellacking from food lobbyists through the years.

You see, for a lot of us, there is a strange comfort in McDonald's. There are many times, places and ways when a little Micky D's just hits the spot. The Big Mac's role is to fill us up emotionally.

The latest McDonald's TV spot, featuring the 'first day on the job guy' knows this and works the angle well. Emotion and McDonald's ads tend to be a schmaltzy combination (I worked in the US for 10 years and saw all too much of it) and 'I'm lovin' it' begs to be abused.

The UK client and agency, however, seem to have a really strong grip these days on how to make insightful connections with audiences and serve up the action with universal appeal.

This ad recounts the awkward confusion and stress employees face when they receive a whirlwind induction into the administrative ins and outs of a new workplace; anxieties that are aptly relieved by your favourite lunchtime meal at McDonald's.

The ad avoids the over-the-top comedy trap and plays the situations calmly and with directorial aplomb, showing how McDonald's can be a natural and rewarding part of the average punter's day.

The balanced way in which the creative plays out makes the spot work: more human connection, less food porn.

This work may lack the creative horsepower of the 'Just passing by' campaign, but it does a great job of creating a real and credible role for the brand in modern life.

I've always thought Burger King has had the jump on McDonald's in terms of making tasty food, but McDonald's understands how to connect the brand experience more fully with its customers.

What's more, in these days of foodie paranoia and calorific responsibility, McDonald's has done a great job of pinning down that un-self-conscious comfort and familiarity people crave from 'fast-food' moments.


If the intention was to show how naturally McDonald's fits into everyday life, and provides an emotionally rewarding experience, then this ad hits the spot. It is well crafted, too, balancing a strong human insight with the right amount of branding, which adds to the spot's credibility.

9 OUT OF 10

Adwatch (Mar 7): Top 20 recall TV ads
Latest Feb-29 Brand Agency/TV Buyer Recall
rank       %
1 (–) Direct Line  M&C Saatchi/MediaCom 79
2 (–)  Albion London/PHD 69
3 -2 Churchill  WCRS/MediaCom 66
4 (–) BT 

Abbott Mead
Vickers BBDO/Maxus

5 (–) Comparethe
VCCP/ZenithOptimedia 62
6 (–) McDonald's  Leo Burnett/OMD UK 55
7 (–) Aldi  McCann Erickson
McCann Manchester
8 (–) Foster's  Adam & Eve/MediaVest 48
9 (–) Aviva  Abbott Mead Vickers
10 (–) McCain Ready
Baked Jackets
Beattie McGuinness
11 (–) Kinder Bueno  Krow/MEC 36
12 (–) NatWest  M&C Saatchi/
13 (–) McVitie's Quirks  Publicis/MEC 33
14= (–) Bupa Care Homes  WCRS/MEC 32
14= (–) Jordans Country
Grey London/
14= (–) Cadbury Dairy
Milk Bubbly
Fallon London/PHD 32
17 (–) Lynx Attract  Bartle Bogle
18= (–) Birds Eye
Potato Waffle
Abbott Mead
Vickers BBDO/
18= (–) Sky  Sky Creative/
20 (–) T-Mobile  Saatchi & Saatchi/


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