McDonald’s celebrates the magic of imagination

For its fifth anniversary of #ReindeerReady, Leo Burnett and McDonald’s remind audiences they’re never too old to imagine in a heartwarming Christmas campaign

Georgie Moreton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


The festive period is a magical time of year that conjures up a sense of nostalgia for many who are reminded of Christmases gone by. This feeling of nostalgia and ritual is at the centre of this year’s McDonald’s offering that follows the heart-warming tale of a girl’s lifelong relationship with her imaginary friend.

In its fifth anniversary of #ReindeerReady, Leo Burnett and McDonald’s reignite the power of imagination and remind audiences that you’re never too old to make-believe.

The TV ad, written and art directed by Leo Burnett creative duo Amy Bushill and Cristina Rosique Gómez, depicts the story of a young girl, Matilda, whose imagination comes to life at Christmas in the form of a loveable, fuzzy, imaginary monster, Iggy. 

Iggy and Matilda share in the magic of festive rituals and fun holiday traditions together. However, as Matilda grows older, and her love of Christmas fades, so too does her relationship with Iggy. Until one year, inspired by an encounter with a young boy and his Reindeer Treats in McDonald’s, Matilda finds her Christmas spirit and reignites the imaginary friend she had long forgotten. 

“Christmas is such a joyous time for children and adults alike – with this year set to be better than ever as families reunite all over the country after a difficult few years. We want to make sure that McDonald’s is on hand to help the British public get Reindeer Ready on the lead up to the big day,” said Michelle Graham-Clare, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, McDonald’s UK.

The soundtrack to the film has been recorded by BRIT Awards-winner Mabel, and is a stripped-back edition of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time’. The soundtrack is available for download, with 10p from each sale going to McDonald’s charity partner, FareShare – a UK national network of food redistributors that fights hunger and tackles food waste in the UK. 

“We’re lucky in this industry to be encouraged to be childlike and live in our imaginations. But for most people, as we grow up, the pressures of life can mean we often forget how to remember those things that made us dream and believe,” explained Chaka Sobhani, Global Chief Creative Officer, Leo Burnett. “Luckily, small but meaningful rituals – like leaving carrot sticks out for the reindeer – can sometimes be all it takes to reignite that festive belief. Hopefully, this story will remind people of the wonder of imagination and believing that at Christmas, anything is possible.”

Now in its fifth year, #ReindeerReady is a creative platform that has grown year-on-year and helped McDonald’s to define its place in Christmas festivities. The Reindeer Ready Hub from previous years will be continuing and goes live on 1st December. 

The hub has also been created by Leo Burnett, and centres around games, activations, experiences and McDonald’s famous Reindeer Treats. This year, the hub will deliver an AR experience for parents to capture the moment a reindeer enters their home and eats the Reindeer Treats left out by their children – giving them a magical video to share with their children on Christmas morning. There will also be a 25-day countdown advent calendar for families to be inspired to use their imagination through daily content like ‘How to’ crafting videos, colouring sheets, games, and more.

The campaign will be supported by a month of PR and influencer activations designed to get the nation Reindeer Ready, supported by the Red Consultancy. Social filters will be available, inviting people to dance along with Iggy alongside Iggy Christmas tree decorations and Iggy jumpers produced by Leo Burnett and Linneys. 

The campaign will have both VOD and social elements, which draw from the creative of the flagship TV ad, as well as a Channel 4 advertising premier slot. Media planning and buying is being handled by OMD.

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