McDonald’s celebrates its ‘thing’: quality

Who: McDonald’s Canada, with Cossette for strategy and creative; Feels Like Home and Free Society for production; Saints Editorial and The Vanity for post-production; OMD Canada for media; Weber Shandwick for PR.

What: “It’s a McDonald’s Thing,” a national campaign underscoring the QSR’s longstanding commitment to quality ingredients.

When & Where: The campaign is in market now, running across the country using a combination of TV/OLV; out-of-home including streetcar wraps and TSAs; high-impact video at Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square; as well as digital, paid and organic social, and in-store creative.

Why: McDonald’s has made its commitment to quality ingredients one of its marketing cornerstones in recent years, but director of brand marketing Rebecca Smart said this campaign is taking a “very intentional, fan-first” approach to showcase its use of top-notch ingredients, from 100% Canadian beef and potatoes, to Canada Grade A eggs. That means fewer shots of farmers in their fields, and a greater emphasis on how those ingredients are enjoyed by customers.

“This campaign is really about building a connection to our customers, as it acknowledges and celebrates their unique fan truths,” said Smart. “In doing so, we were able to authentically talk about the quality and sourcing of our food by sharing our own brand truth—the quality of our food.”

How: Set inside a McDonald’s restaurant, the two 30-second anchor spots showcase two of the chain’s signature items: the Big Mac and French fries.

They present McDonald’s customers who have a “thing” about how they eat, from Mike setting up his second bite of a Big Mac through a maneuver called “the reverse lay down,” to Layla ensuring she always ends up with the fullest box of fries. Both spots end by presenting McDonald’s “thing,” which is using 100% Canadian beef and potatoes.

The spots are soundtracked by the Isley Brothers’ 1969 song “It’s Your Thing,” which has become something of a preferred song among marketers to express individuality, used by brands as varied as SlimFast, Heineken, Pier 1. and Saab (oh, and McDonald’s chief rival Burger King, which used it in a 1998 spot promoting its 99¢ Great Tastes Menu).

The goal was to talk about food quality in a way that represented a “fresh departure” from the familiar, said Cossette’s executive creative director, Jason Hill, one of the members of  Cossette’s creative team for the McDonald’s business.

And we quote: “[W]e chose to put McDonald’s fans at the heart of the story, knowing that everyone has their own very specific food-related ‘thing’ at McDonald’s. That’s what we love most about this campaign—it could only have come from McDonald’s.” — Jason Hill, executive creative director, Cossette

Chris Powell