I am often unimpressed with McDonald’s advertising campaigns – they are too scared to do anything other than vanilla efforts that make 12 people in a focus group unoffended, and it leaves the ads without substance and ultimately unsatisfying.

In the past two days Maccas dropped a couple of ads onto our screens, and again, nothing is new both are safe efforts.

But storytelling technique can overcome a safe effort and transform it into a truly great piece of marketing – one of the ads succeeds with flying colours. Can you tell which?

It’s the baby drive thru ad.

The way in which it builds the story is masterful. In the beginning, you don’t know exactly what’s happening but you do know something out of the ordinary is happening so your curiosity is piqued, then you realise the problem, a problem that anyone with kids (or nieces and nephew, in my case) can immediately relate to, the crew member on drive thru has acknowledged the problem and now has to solve it. For the next twenty seconds, we are held captive by the solution and her earnest reaction.

It’s a great ad for the storytelling and underpinning the story is the advertisement Maccas is:
Is the place you turn to late at night
Staffed by helpful friendly people
Maccas can solve your problems

The second ad, whilst not horrible, suffers from the same old problem – it’s boring! The ad is showing off their new coffee blend – a notorious shortfall at the golden arches but there are two elements that stick out for me in this offering.
1) My cousin is in it – nice work, Andy!
2) Who knows their MickeyDees server by their first name (other than my cousin, apparently)? It’s a subtle nod by Maccas to say McCafe is a café – it’s as good as your local and you will get the same quality service and beverage – maybe not by a hairy hipster waxing lyrical about their newest green deconstructed coffee (that’s another cousin, sorry Ed).

It’s rather a nice touch but it’s too subtle to work, hence I think it falls flat (just like the coffee served).
So this week we get a masterstroke and a mistake all from the one company.




Written By: Rob