When I was first starting out in the wonderful world of marketing, McDonald’s was one of the most creative and effective advertisers in the world. For years their ads simultaneously tantalized your taste buds and tugged at your heartstrings, and they played a huge role in clearly elevating the brand far above all fast food competitors. Sadly, it’s been at least 10 or 15 years since McDonald’s so consistently worked its marketing magic.
Recently, however, I’ve been seeing some signs that the old magic might be returning. Perhaps the most encouraging example is their current french fries commercial. This warmly-shot spot is charming in its simplicity, and the surprise ending makes me smile no matter how many times I see it.
This could have featured a customer saying “I love McDonald’s fries” or an announcer citing statistics documenting how McDonald’s fries are preferred over the competition’s at a statistically significant level of confidence. Obviously, however, such flat-footed approaches couldn’t come close to the impact of having three kids running and riding full-speed off a dock in pursuit of a McDonald’s french fry on the end of a fishing hook.
To me, this spot both reminds me of how delicious McDonald’s fries are and makes me like McDonald’s just a little bit more. It’s highly entertaining yet almost believable. In short, it’s the ultimate fish story.