McDonald’s celebrates 40 years of McNuggets

The brand asks ‘are your mates #McNuggetWorthy?’ as part of an interactive challenge

Georgie Moreton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


To celebrate 40 years of McNuggets, McDonald’s has launched its new #McNuggetWorthy campaign. A creative approach based on asking  nugget fans to consider whether or not their mates are worth sharing nuggets with. 

Created with help from Leo Burnett, the campaign seeks to target Gen Z participation through its interactive challenge approach. Based on the insight that even the best of friends are reluctant to share their McNuggets, the #McNuggetWorthy campaign aims to engage Gen Z in friendly debate.

At the heart of the campaign is a 30 second hero film, created by Leo Burnett and directed by Sam Brown from Rogue Films. The film brings the ‘Are you #McNuggetWorthy?’ concept to life by showcasing a strong Gen Z friendship,  before showing that even the closest of friends struggle to share food. 

The spot begins with a girl enjoying a box of McNuggets before her best friend approaches her. In tribute to their long-lasting friendship, the two girls engage in an epic secret handshake with manga-inspired production. They end their lengthy routine with a fist bump and the audience can see their matching ‘BFF’ rings connecting in a ‘boom’.  As they pull away and reality settles back in one friend attempts to grab a McNugget. The girl holding her box of McNuggets instinctively pulls away, and the film ends with the voiceover: “They might be your bestie, but are they #McNuggetWorthy?”

To further engage the Gen Z audience, the #McNuggetWorthy campaign has been launched with an emphasis on social channels including TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. A stackable content approach for a fast food favourite. 

As part of the social activity the brand is inviting fans to decide who is worthy of sharing McNuggets with on a ‘McNuggetWorthy Scale’. In a partnership with LadBible secured by OMD UK, LadBible Group will be seeding #McNuggetWorthy messaging throughout social channels asking audiences which acts of friendship can be deemed as McNuggetworthy. 

The social element of the campaign will include messaging and engaging with social media talent. As well as  the production of original content around the theme. Red Consultancy is helping to create influencer activity that will see well-known social media stars produce exclusive content to get social media talking about how #McNuggetWorthy their friends are. 

“There are friends, and then there are the friends you’d actually share a McNugget with. So what better way to celebrate the 40th Birthday of McNuggets than with a bold, fun, populist campaign which asks fans to put their friendships to the test in a whole new way ‘Are They #McNuggetworthy?’” said Andrew Long and James Millers, Creative Directors at Leo Burnett UK.

Celebrations of the 40th birthday of the Chicken McNugget are also taking place in stores, where McDonald’s has introduced four new dipping sauces for a limited time only; Garlic Mayo, Mega Hot, Chipotle Mayo and Creamy Ranch. 

McDonald’s is also hosting #McNuggetWorthy: The Experience, where the fast food brand will be taking over a London location to throw an event with everything #McNuggetWorthy. From McNugget mini golf to ball pits to limited edition #McNuggetWorthy merch – including vibrant McNugget-themed summer shirts - only available at the event. 

“McNuggets are one of the most iconic products on our menu so, when the 40th anniversary came around, we knew we needed to make a splash. Our approach for this campaign was to engage true McNugget lovers by unlocking a genuine fan truth and spreading the word through a fun, interactive campaign,” explains Steve Howells, Director of Marketing at McDonald’s UK & Ireland.

The campaign is also supported by a, 20-second radio spot, print, cinema and out-of-home media, brokered by OMD. 

By celebrating one of the most popular menu items and engaging audiences in an interactive, multi-platform campaign, McDonald’s is able to create conversations and solidify the brand’s position with Gen Z and popular culture. Stackable content driving one of the country’s most recognisable fast food options. 

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Gen Z food & drink