The spot opens with a man watching his friend gobble down a McDonald’s Premium Chicken Sandwich with some alarm. The music is forbidding. He says, “Man you keep eating those – you’re going to turn into a chicken.” The spot then follows the friend as goes home, keeps eatching McDonald’s chicken sandwiches, starts leaking feathers and eventually gets out of bed to reveal chicken feet. The spot ends with a black screen with “all-white breast meat Premium Chicken Sandwiches,” followed by the McDonald’s logo and the “I’m lovin’ it” tagline.
This ad certainly gets our attention. It has roughly the same pacing, cinematography and scoring as an M. Night Shyamalan film. It is utterly unlike anything we’ve seen from McDonald’s before. It is a memorable spot.
This spot has issues on several levels. First, it completely violates the brand character of McDonalds which is meant to be approachable and fun. This spot is scary and forbidding. Secondly, it misses the fundamental brand positioning for McDonalds – the place for kids of all ages. Every time McDonalds has aimed its advertising to adults it has misfired, most famously with the McLean Deluxe. McDonalds is a place for families, first and foremost. It is true that heavy-eating adult males are the most significant user group for McDonalds, but as this advertising blog has noted previously, these men come to McDonalds to recapture a connection to their childhood and adult advertising will not necessarily have the expected effect on this group.
What is McDonalds thinking? Even the basic selling proposition is flawed here. We are supposed to be more attracted to McDonalds Premium Chicken Sandwiches because they are addictive and might turn us into a chicken? McDonalds seems to have turned back to the Burger King school of advertising that believes that any talk about the brand is good – even if the talk is about how absurd the advertising has become. We are surprised that DDB Chicago is behind this brand disaster.
Branding Bottom Line:
Memo to McDonalds – please stop scaring our kids or we’re not coming back.