Adwatch: Marketing's Unique Weekly Analysis of Advertisement Recall in Association with Tns
The chain's coffee-range ad is charmingly understated and underpins its brand position Russ Lidstone, Chief executive, Euro RSCG London
I was lucky enough to spend many days locked in a darkened room last summer, overdosing on crap coffee with a bunch of marketing and advertising luminaries, as part of the first Cannes effectiveness jury.
One of the most deserving Cannes Lion winning papers was for McDonald's - a redoubtable demonstration of long-term brandand equity-building that delivered both sales effectiveness and significant ROI. It was a beautiful demonstration by client and agency of how rational messages underpinned by brand persona led to effective trust and behavioural action.
I have worked with a few retail clients over the years, and it's fair to say that the 'promotional' or 'new range' briefs are among the most challenging to land in any agency. An idea can often get in the way of the message. The lack of an idea can lead to that commercial message landing on deaf ears. Blending a range or 'offer' execution with the brand's tone of voice can create tensions between commercial requirements and brand values.
The perennial challenge is how to ensure that promotional or range messages engage people so that they actually take the time to listen to what you say.
McDonald's and Leo Burnett have consistently cracked that particularly tough nut over the years. A sense of humanity and unadulterated self-deprecating British values resonate through a variety of McDonald's initiatives and sales-driving messages. Half-price Big Macs, new sandwiches and McFlurry flavours have all been communicated and leavened with charm, wit and warmth that make us care for the brand.
In this instance, it's a coffee-range ad. McDonald's does a range of fresh coffee made with Arabica beans, don't you know. This is a nicely performed and charmingly understated execution that eavesdrops on conversations that happen over various cups of coffee. Even the paper cups look nice.
Within seconds the 'low-involvement processing' styling and tone (coupled with plenty of branded cups) ensure that I know it's a McDonald's ad. This is not to the ad's detriment - it's still an execution to which I'm prepared to donate 30 seconds of my hard-earned spare time.
Yes, it's a coffee-range promotion, but it's much more than that, because it broadens my thinking about what McDonald's offers and it makes it feel like a positive retail experience rather than a 'grab and go' shop. Perhaps most importantly, it is likeable.
I bet the ad will sell a few coffees, burgers and McFlurries and continue to underpin McDonald's brand position in the UK psyche.
I'm sure people will be assessing further evidence of its effectiveness in jury rooms for some time to come; maybe even over a McDonald's coffee, rather than the tasteless stuff that I endured in Cannes. …