McDonald’s Canada looks to the past to move forward

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

What: “Love What’s Next,” a new brand platform celebrating the QSR’s 55th anniversary in Canada that looks back while simultaneously showcasing a major shift in its business going forward.

When & Where: The launch campaign debuted this week, running across TV, online video, digital, Spotify, e-mail, and social. There is also a dedicated purpose and impact tab on the McDonald’s Canada website.

Why: The fast-food chain is using its 55th anniversary in Canada to present a comprehensive vision for its future as a more purpose-led organization. It includes a series of commitments aimed at bringing what it describes as “real and tangible” change across three key areas: the planet, food, and local communities.

The accompanying plan includes:

  • A pledge to donate more than $70 million to Ronald McDonald House Charities over the next five years;
  • Addressing food insecurity in communities by providing approximately 1 million meals every year to Canadians in need;
  • Working towards McDonald’s global pledge to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, including the April introduction of its first EV to its distribution fleet;
  • Supporting sustainable beef production in Canada, which already includes sourcing a minimum of 30% of the beef for its Quarter Pounders from farms and ranches certified to Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef standards;
  • Committing to McDonald’s global goal to source 100% of primary guest packaging from renewable, recycled, or certified sources by the end of 2025;
  • Working towards a global ambition to reduce fuel-based plastics used in Happy Meal toys, and offer Happy Meal toys made from more renewable, recycled, or certified materials by the end of 2025.

How: The new initiative is anchored by a 60-second spot that blends imagery from McDonald’s earliest days in Canada to the present-day. The spot opens on an overhead shot of a McDonald’s parking lot circa the early 1970s, before taking viewers inside a restaurant with era-specific uniforms, packaging, etc.

The accompanying voiceover explains how McDonald’s restaurants have traditionally been a community gathering spot, while also explaining how it has become one of the country’s largest youth employers, and its commitment to using Canadian beef and eggs in its products.  “It’s all about making changes to move forward,” says the closing voiceover. “So you, and everyone who comes through our doors, can love what’s next.”

And we quote: “As our communities grow and change, so do their priorities. Our guests want to know they can trust us to act responsibly. We’re making sure our choices, actions and values as a business show Canadians that what’s important to them is also important to us.” — Gemma Pryor, senior director, McDonald’s Canada Impact Team, which is helping coordinate planned changes across the organization

Chris Powell