TOO MANY COOKS ON ARCH DELUXE

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Now that Arch Deluxe has been launched with at least a modicum of success, McDonald's Corp. has followed up with a variety of adult sandwiches. Both chicken and fish now also are slathered with a small coronary's worth of allegedly grown-up sauce and covered with leaf lettuce, to earn the label Deluxe.

Not too difficult a concept. Yet, for whatever reason, the world's largest fast-food company didn't think communicating it could be handled by only one agency. So it's using five. Five.

Five advertising agencies, tapping their vast cumulative resources to give us five distinctly different sets of messages.

From Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, we get a couple of fanciful, typically Fallonesque spots. One features two farmers frolicking in the dirt, like kids, then driving their pickup over to McDonald's to get some sophisticated fast-food. Another, also trying to convey sophistication, shows a rooster singing an aria from "Carmen."

Point taken, although there are some of us who don't necessarily want to eat the remarkable animal we've just been entertained by.

DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago, is also offbeat in its ads-albeit off an entirely different beat. These spots feature McDonald's executive chef Andrew Selvaggio whimsically hard-selling his recipe. Perhaps the agency was attracted by his native goofiness. Goofy he is, but not particularly amusing. In one, he buttonholes people in an elevator and enthuses about the Deluxe ingredients.

Ah, to be trapped in a confined space and annoyed about special sauce! There's a come-on for you. This is like New York Life filming one of its agents drumming up prospects at his kid's soccer game.

Then there's the work from Leo Burnett USA. If the other stuff is offbeat, this is in precise 4:4 time. It's as if the agency was asked to deliver pure food photography with just a bare hint of something else going on. And there is: a voice-over product description, happy models eating unhealthy food and saxophone music in the background. It is distinguished by being absolutely undistinguished.

The only truly interesting spot is the one from Burrell Communications aimed at black consumers. It's a take-off of a cop-movie trailer, with lots of quick cuts, fake critic blurbs and the disclaimer that "3 the Grown-up Way" are for mature audiences. The spot is clever, eye-catching and far and away the best of the lot.

Finally, from del Rivero, Messianu-a Hispanic-market agency-is a Spanish spot featuring an unbearable little girl with her baseball cap on sideways and . . . . don't get us started. It's insipid in any language.

So, there you have it: five agencies producing five campaigns that share not a single creative or stylistic element. They are all out there, in varying degrees of mediocrity, creating a disjointed whole that is far less than the sum of its parts.

Put all the leaf lettuce on it you want-it's still a recipe for failure.

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