McDonald's first big work from its new U.S. creative agency puts a modern spin on the 50-year-old Big Mac as the world's largest restaurant chain aims to reinvigorate sales of its iconic sandwich.
The campaign kicking off Jan. 29 comes from Omnicom's We Are Unlimited, which was created and tailored for McDonald's in late 2016 after a competitive review.
McDonald's USA Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl has repeatedly said she wants the Golden Arches to reach its audience wherever they are, with content that is relevant to them at the right time. The "Big Mac For That" campaign aims to live up to that goal. It includes 30-second TV spots tailored for big audience events including the pregame show for the Super Bowl, the Oscars and the Grammys. It also has 6-second videos that will be served up based on searches on YouTube. It includes content meant just for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube. And it ties into this week's giveaway of 10,000 bottles of Big Mac Special Sauce.
Big Mac's big moment comes as McDonald's is promoting two additional sizes of the sandwich, the smaller Mac Jr. and the larger Grand Mac, for a limited time.
"We know that Big Mac is the sandwich that has the most advocacy overall," said Ms. Wahl.
Still, McDonald's recognizes that plenty of patrons, particularly younger ones including millennials, just don't eat Big Macs. As We Are Unlimited CEO Brian Nienhaus noted, some research showed that about 40% of millennials had never had a Big Mac.
"That, to me, was shocking," he said.
That's one of the key reasons for the Big Mac-focused campaign and selling other sizes.
"It's really important to stay engaged and really, frankly, to grow the business," said Ms. Wahl.
The campaign comes after McDonald's reported its fourth consecutive annual decline in visits and a quarterly dip in sales at longstanding U.S. restaurants after a year of gains.
The first work shared by McDonald's includes a 60-second video featuring everyday moments explained by a rapper backed by a drumline. Whenever someone celebrates an occasion, such as getting a great haircut or playing well in a game, the line "There's a Big Mac for That" is repeated and the people celebrate, of course, with one of the three Big Macs. The "I'm Lovin' It" tagline comes at the end of the commercial.
"This was really an opportunity to give the Big Mac its swagger back," Mr. Nienhaus said.
We Are From LA, which won a Best Video Grammy award for Pharrell's "Happy," directed the campaign, which includes 18 customized commercials. The 60-second spot will be used online, including for a YouTube masthead takeover.
The campaign includes what is said to be the first North American use of Google Vogon ad units, targeted 6-second videos that will run before YouTube videos based on searches users conduct. Digital content will be created both from the work that has already been shot and from content that is created spontaneously about moments, Mr. Nienhaus said.
While Omnicom's model, a mix of people pulled in from different agencies and other companies including Facebook, Google and Twitter, appealed to McDonald's, Mr. Neinhaus admits there can be moments when the structure is a challenge, especially as it is still early days.
"We're still working out the collaboration model," he said. "There's a lot of muscle memory from our agency and partner agencies about how we work."
For this big first project, though, the "Big Mac for That" strategy came together early enough with a creative direction everyone could rally around, he said. "We have one central idea but there's many flavors and executions of this," he said.
One 15-second spot extends a moment from the 60-second version in which a guy celebrates his victory in a video game while riding the bus.
The spots are a departure from various campaigns McDonald's has used over the years to promote the Big Mac. The best known is the jingle that listed its ingredients: two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun. The Big Mac was created in 1967 by Michael "Jim" Delligatti, who died in November. McDonald's this week said it gave the first of the 10,000 bottles of Big Mac Special Sauce to his family.
Other agencies that worked on the campaign include The Marketing Store Worldwide, Burrell, IW Group, The Narrative Group, Golin, Boden Agency and Omnicom agencies Alma Ad, Red Urban, OMD and Resolution Media.