McDonald’s reaches out to Gen Z with a Big Mac inspired dress and cowboy boots

Who: McDonald’s Canada, with Cossette for strategy and creative, along with several popular Canadian creators; MCW for production; Saty + Pratha for photography; Darling for VFX and online; Berkeley for music; and OMD for media.

What: “Inspired by Big Mac,” a campaign intended to “reintroduce” the Big Mac to Gen Z consumers, for whom the burger does not hold the same iconic status it does among older Canadians.

When & Where: The campaign launched Feb. 7 and will run to mid-March. The media plan is heavy on social, but there are outdoor posters, as well as digital and projections on college campuses. Another execution is also planned for Pinterest.

Why: Research showed that Gen Z did not think about the Big Mac in the same way as previous generations. “The brief was pretty simple,” said Jason Hill, executive creative director at Cossette. “Gen Z don’t look at the Big Mac the way that we look at the Big Mac. When we grew up, it was like there was one burger: The Big Mac. They don’t see it like that.”

Cossette needed to figure out a way to connect with them, showing them how iconic the Big Mac is by using media where they spend their time and using the language they speak there.

A starting point was the recognizable Big Mac colours. Even if they don’t revere the burger in the same way, many Gen Zs still recognize the Big Mac colour combination of yellow, green, brown and orange. “Everybody knows that colour palette,” said Hill.

How: They partnered with seven different Canadian Gen Z makers specializing in visual art, and asked them to create something inspired by the Big Mac. “We asked them, if you had to design one of the products you design, influenced by the Big Mac, what would it look like,” said Hill.

The result was a crocheted dress, a 3D animation, cowboy boots, a floral arrangement, eye makeup, finger nails, and even a set of teeth grills.

“If you can design a dress based on the colour palette of a burger, and you understand where it’s coming from, it just reinforces the fact that that product is iconic,” said Hill. “It was all about trying to connect with [Gen Z consumers] and showing how iconic the Big Mac was by not even showing the Big Mac at all.”

The Big Mac inspired creations are being pushed out through social channels and outdoor now. “Because this campaign is so highly visual, it really lends itself to that media,” said Hill of the outdoor executions. “You can’t miss it. It’s just a blast of colour.”

There’s also a Pinterest activation rolling out soon that will see boards created using pins of the Big Mac colours in various popular content categories (fashion, home décor etc.). In other words, a virtual Big Mac created from brown, yellow, orange and green pins, based on the content the user is interested in.

“If you’re into dresses and fashion, the Big Mac board that you will you look at it will be full of that stuff,” said Hill. “Visually it looks pretty similar to the rest of the campaign.”




David Brown