McDonald’s imagines life returning to normal with a loving ode to fry thieves

Who: McDonald’s Canada with Cossette for creative, OMD Canada for media and Weber Shandwick for PR.

What: “Steal My Fries,” a new national campaign that’s ostensibly about its iconic fries, but is more about the fact that things are slowly returning to normal after the pandemic (or at least that’s the hope). It’s a lovely piece of feel-good creative, with an ear-worm of a song at its heart.

When & Where: The integrated campaign is running through Aug. 29. It includes a 60-second hero spot and a 30-second version running on TV, supported by online video and social media.

Why: It’s not just about promoting one of the QSR’s most beloved menu items, but also the feel-good moments that come with an outing to one of its restaurants, said McDonald’s Canada chief marketing officer Alyssa Buetikofer. Recent data from Restaurants Canada found that nearly three-quarters of Canadians (74%) missed going out to restaurants during the pandemic, while 89% are looking forward to dining with family and friends again.

How: The spot opens on a man sitting alone on a McDonald’s patio when he notices two men next to him, one of whom filches one of the other’s fries. It’s a melancholy moment that prompts him to break into song, fondly reminiscing about how his friend would routinely steal his fries whenever they dined together.

“I’d dread the time, when you’d take what’s mine, you know what I’m talking about. But after so much time apart, I’ve had a change of heart,” he sings, before breaking into the song’s soaring chorus, imploring his friend to once again “Steal my fries.”

The rest of the spot features the singer accosting his friend and inviting him to once again steal his fries: At work, while he’s playing in a soccer game, in a hot tub with his girlfriend, popping up in the back seat of his car. There’s also a reference to the iconic “Boombox Serenade” scene in the 1980s teen comedy Say Anything.

The spot ends up back at the restaurant, with his friend sliding into the seat opposite him and nicking one of his fries. “This is nice, man,” says the singer as the music swells and the super “Here’s to stealing fries again” appears on screen.

About the song: Alexandre Gadoua, Cossette’s national group creative director, McDonalds, said that the song was one of the first ideas presented by the creative team of senior copywriter Jason Soy and senior art director Zuheir Kotob. “[W]hen they shared the song, I knew it was going to stick,” said Gadoua. “It’s relatable, catchable and ownable.”

And we quote: “At McDonald’s, we serve delicious food as well as feel-good moments. ‘Steal My Fries’ is a playful, creative campaign that celebrates the joy of sharing a meal again. We hope it inspires Canadians to reconnect over some of McDonald’s World Famous Fries—whether you intend on sharing, or casually stealing a few from the ones you love!” —Alyssa Buetikofer, chief marketing officer, McDonald’s Canada

Chris Powell