McDonald’s Ad Series Takes Celebrity Voices Away
Have you ever had a meal that left you speechless? Unless you count food allergies that have left me speechless because of an allergic reaction, I have never experienced a meal so good that no words can describe it. Even the best meals I’ve had usually require a quip or two. But that could all change if I try McDonald’s new Quarter Pounders.
In May, to advertise its new fresh-beef, cooked-to-order Quarter Pounders, McDonald’s and its agency We Are Unlimited created a string of 30 second spots that feature celebrities—ranging from John Goodman to Gabriele Union to Charles Barkley to Joshua DTV (no idea who that is)—eating Quarter Pounders and they were so good that none of them could speak. They were left… speechless.
There were also ads where the celebrities spoke for customers left speechless by the burgers. This was all done to promote its new line of Quarter Pounders, which McDonald’s hopes improves its menu and wins new customers. I can’t speak for the Quarter Pounder on winning customers, but I do have two cents about the ads.
Here are the ingredients that made this ad series delicious…
1. Celebrity Selection – The celebrities used for the campaign were good choices. John Goodman, Gabrielle Union and Charles Barkley (being the big hitters) are non-controversial celebrities and were great spokespersons. The range also helped with Goodman attracting an older crowd, Union attracting today’s TV/film fans, and Barkley bringing in the sports demographic. It gave McDonald’s the ability to tap into different markets successfully.
2. Humor – These ads had respectable, innocent comedy. Whether it was the expressions from the actors as they took a big juicy bite out of the burger, the interaction they had with other actors portraying everyday customers, or the voiceovers they provided, the comedy was non-offensive and nostalgic. The bites were trying to be reminiscent of the first time you had McDonald’s, but all the while using that memory to advertise its improvement of one of its staples, thus encouraging you to make a new memory when you try the new Quarter Pounder.
3. No Jingle – These ads were about burgers. It kept the focus on the burger. The ads had no jingle or wholesome family experience mumbo jumbo. It was all about the burger!
Here is the part of this series that was a little tough to swallow…
1. Clogged Arteries – I like a good burger. My favorite meal is a double bacon cheddar cheeseburger with fries. However, McDonald’s is still fast food, meaning the food is made fast. This is personal preference here, I know, but fast food is not healthy to eat. As I watched these ads with the actors smiling and greedily eating the burgers, I couldn’t help but see dark comedy. By all means enjoy and smile away as you eat because if your heart has any say in the matter, it might very well be your last meal. You might be left speechless for entirely different reasons.
Clogged arteries aside, McDonald’s “Speechless” spots were well-executed with innocent, nostalgic humor. The celebrity presence was non-controversial and approachable. Finally, the burgers looked good. For a food company, what more can you ask for?