McDonald’s, I’m loathin’ it.

Christian James, Managing Director

The latest controversial piece of creative in the dock, (following Pepsi’s ‘tone deaf’ Kendall Jenner ad), is McDonald’s attempt at suggesting it’s there for it’s customers for the good times and the bad. Using the storyline of a bereaved child trying to find out from his Mother what his father had been like, the ad is a well scripted, well acted and beautifully crafted production by Leo Burnett London. From a creative point of view, there’s loads to admire. It’s brave, distinctive, memorable and perhaps it’s even based on solid insight.

I’m just staggered that at no point in the development process did anyone stop to question the appropriateness of the narrative. I’ve pretty much always loved McDonald’s campaigns for their simplicity, relevance and truth. So what went wrong here? 

Has the agency creative team become too dominant in the equation?

Has the client pushed for something more provocative?

Have the ‘suits’ and planners neglected their role as voice of consumer?

Or has the Brand revealed it’s true colours; smug and full of self-importance? 

My view? Right strategy, wrong execution. And a great (really bad) example of what can go wrong when you create content in a vacuum. It’s easy to get carried away with a strong core idea…..collective delusion can soon set in……but present this idea to a dozen ‘real customers’ and I’m 100% certain they would have crushed it.

Is this a crisis moment for McDonald’s and/or Leo Burnett? Or will we just accept it was a crass mistake and await the next simple, truthful, and presumably more trivial offering from the golden arches?