McDonald's - Always Working on our Happy Meal - (2016) :60 (UK)

In an ad that will mesmerize the kids, McDonald's basically reads the brief stating how they improve their happy meal. The art direction is a cute animation where toy train type figurines are working on a human sized Happy Meal, all the while telling us how they reduced the salt, the saturated fats, and introduced water & organic milk to the deal. When I was a kid any animation had my complete and undivided attention - after a few airings Im sure some kids will be able to recite all of these arguments by heart. "No, we're not going to McDonald's" "But mum, I can get a happy meal with organic milk, and they reduced the sodium!" Crafty, very crafty.

Leo Burnett London created the stop-motion 60-second TV ad. It will be backed by press and in-store executions, as well as six films, that will be shared on social media, that go into more details about the changes McDonald’s has made to the Happy Meal.

Ad agency: Leo Burnett

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David Felton's picture

Leo Burnett consistently make incredible advertising for McDonald's. Everything about this is perfect; it's a work of art.

Shame that they're advertising a substandard product which is rapidly losing market share to younger, trendier brands!

Fun story - during the recession I applied to be a McDonald's Manager in London (their 'fast track' scheme) and made it to the final selection days. Ultimately, they disqualified me because they said my shoes were inappropriate! But in the information pack it said to wear 'sturdy, non-slip shoes' which is exactly what I did. Apparently, the hiring manager thought only black shiny shoes had the appropriate gravitas for a McDonald's Manager!

So yes, I've made McDonald's fries before, and yes, I've made a McDonald's burger. And yes, I have nothing but respect, because it's an incredibly difficult and physically demanding job. Imagine being on your feet for 8 hours, with the heat of a deep fat fryer up against your face. Every 15 seconds a new order of fries comes in, and you have to have them ready or you're holding the entire restaurant up.

There's no time to think. There's no time to talk. You become a fry-making machine. You reach a state of PURE ZEN, where you are at one with the fries. You are the fries.

Your mind leaves your body and floats up.

You pass over the heads of the patrons, and you have a sudden moment of clarity, an almost disturbing but beautiful revelation. We are all McDonald's. We are all united by our human failings, by our need to ingest greasy yet delicious food. This is humanity, raw and unprocessed, and diametrically unrefined to the refined product we are consuming with a mixture of joy and innate sadness. And this is the truth behind all McDonald's restaurants, each one a microcosm of humanity as a whole, a very real universe of its own.

You realize that in a very visceral way, we all own McDonald's too. It serves a function, and one much greater than providing food. It provides a shared space, and a shared set of values. To some McDonald's is barbarism, and yet it also represents culture, a shining light of dependability and civilisation, in a swirling heart of darkness. We are all part of it, that great and magnificent song, echoing out across the cosmos. We are all chicken nuggets, we're dead but we don't know it, hoping and grasping that our brief moment of life will have some meaning, some universal and enduring significance. Together we are greater; like a box of chicken nuggets. Together we find unity and purpose.

Your consciousness swirls around the seething masses of humanity and floats back down into your body. Your shift is over and 8 hours has passed. You have made thousands of portions of fries. Where did the time go? Where did it all go? Is that life - too soon we look back and realise how much time has passed in the blink of an eye. Did it have significance? Did it mean something?

You're shift is up. Go, re-enter the civilian world. Walk as one of them. But you're not. You are forever marked, something different. Not better, just different; McDonald's has touched your life. There is no leaving now, not in the hidden recesses of your soul. Like some sacred bond, a innate part of you has been branded with an invisible brand - you are part of something bigger, something indefinable, ineffable and inescapable.

I wonder if any of the Leo Burnett creatives working on this account have actually spent a weekend making fries at a flagship McDonald's.

Dabitch's picture

Whoah, did you have too much sugar?

I can feel that zen, I used to be a Starbucks barista (during college) in Rockerfeller center in Manhattan. We served so many people it was like I never stopped moving.

David Felton's picture

Service jobs are tough.