The McNificents

Keeping families close unleashes emotional superpower.


McDonald’s supports the Ronald McDonald House Charities in enabling families to be close to their sick children when they need this the most; in hospitals. This is key in the healing process. Research has shown that family closeness has a positive, healing effect on the mental and physical wellbeing of children in the hospital.

For each Happy Meal sold, McDonald’s donates an amount to Ronald McDonald House Charities. Whereas awareness about this partnership has been pushed with campaigns in the past few years, it's still rather rational in the mind of guests.

To grow audience interest and engagement, guests need to feel why this charity really matters. The challenge was to turn this transactional value into emotional value that reflects on both Ronald McDonald House Charities and McDonald’s and truly changes the perception everyone has of the brand for the better.


Science proves that families give real strength, courage and energy to cope with sickness and heal it sooner. This led to our insight: 

Children whose parents stay in a Ronald McDonald House during sickness and hard times, gain a kind of superpower by having their families close. 

Every child (and adult) can empathise with this sentiment, because insecurity and emotional anxiety are not exclusive for sick children: we all would love some superpower. Hence the popularity of superheroes. 


We re-imagined this superpower to transform these children to actual superheroes, and called them: The McNificents. Real-life superheroes, that deserve a place in the Happy Meal, like other famous superhero toys. 

We selected three children that have been in and out of hospitals for years, and created McNificents out of their personal stories. Making their weakness into a power, to fight the monster of their sickness. Three action figures resembling them were created, and for one day, every guest received one of these superhero action figures with their Happy Meal. 

We told their stories on TV, in social and digital and via film posters in Marvel-like animations and transformed the restaurants to places that celebrated and honoured these new superheroes.


In little over a week, the McNificents swept the nation.

We generated an earned reach of over €47 million, including coverage on national TV news programmes like the Jeugdjournaal (the Netherlands’ popular evening news broadcast for children). According to effect research, the campaign significantly boosted brand perception: McDonald’s is seen as a more socially involved company (73%, +14%), changing for the better (54%, +11%) and guests as a whole were more engaged with the brand (27%, +20%). Likability and Attention scores were in the national top 2% benchmark. 

The McNificents not only drove brand perception, but also built a 10% increase in visit intention. The famous Happy Meal became even more loved and popular during the campaign period, with a comparable growth of 15%.

€47 million earned reach generated
Resulting in 15% Happy Meal sales growth


McDonald's | McNificents

The Ronald McDonald House Charity enables hospitalized children to have their family close. This unleashes superpower to fight their sickness, making them real live superheroes that deserve a place in the McDonald’s Happy Meal: The McNificents.

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