For industry commentators looking for signs of that much-needed V-shaped recovery, the lines of cars at McDonald’s drive throughs up and down the country were a welcome reminder of just how much consumers are craving a return to normality.
Yet when what constitutes normal in a post-pandemic world can all too often resemble an episode of Black Mirror; the challenge for brands is to strike the right tone. It’s a marketing ecosystem which makes brands rightly fearful of being out of touch with consumer sentiment. In the wake of so much loss, do brands even have the right to be joyful? Or on the flipside do brands need more than ever to invest in communicating that little moment of much needed joy that their product can deliver?
In the midst of these challenges McDonald’s latest spot strikes the right tone of excitement and celebrates the little moments of joy. In this case, that Big Mac you have been missing. While also underlining the measures the brand has taken to ensure safety.
The joyful ad features the track ‘Return of the Mack’ written and recorded by British R&B singer Mark Morrison. The song was requested by 15,000 consumers on social media as the perfect soundtrack for the re-opening of McDonald's restaurants.
According to the fast food chain 16% of customers said their first post-lockdown McDonald’s was better than getting a promotion at work, almost one in five said it made them happier than their football team winning the league. While, in a reflection of just how deep fast-food cravings can go, one in eight said it was better than their wedding day.
While the lines outside of restaurants and drive throughs suggest that absence does in fact make the heart grow fonder, the confident tone of this advertising underlines the fact that the industry obsession with rivals’ mouldy Whoppers aside, genuine consumer insight and long-term brand investment remain at the heart of great marketing.
Michelle Graham-Clare, Vice President Food and Marketing at McDonald’s UK and Ireland explained: “Thinking back to the start of the year, we could never have imagined needing to close all of our restaurants, switching off marketing and despite being the UK’s biggest restaurant company, falling briefly silent.” Pointing to the way consumers reacted to store closures, from Homemade McMuffins to performing love songs to McNuggets on TikTok, the ad builds on that consumer insight.
“Our return to national advertising celebrates those rituals and moments our customers have spent the last four months telling us they’re missing. It is fantastic to be able to return with a knowing nod to the little ways our customers enjoy our food in different ways. Our restaurant teams and franchisees have worked tirelessly to return to the communities in which we operate and I am delighted to capture the joy of those must-missed McDonald’s moments in this campaign,” she adds.
Chaka Sobhani, Leo Burnett’s Chief Creative Officer, added: “From the opening notes of Return of the Mack to the big smiles that follow, we hope this film captures the real buzz and joy our customers are feeling at having their favourite delicious food items back and available. With joy at its heart, our lady at the end sums up that feeling perfectly and simply with ‘I’m so happy’.”