Advertiser: McDonald's Corp.
Agency: Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis
Ad Review rating: 3 stars
Well, there's a sign of the times. McDonald's, the fast-food chain/tot lot, has developed a burger for adults. Whatever will be next?
Senior Trix, perhaps.
Or maybe "40+ Disney," home of MutualFundLand and UrologyLand (Walk through the World's Largest Prostate!).
"Mister Rogers After Hours"?
Anything seems possible, as marketers continue to track the baby boom generation like coyotes stalking a flock of sheep.
In McDonald's case, first they sold us burgers because we liked them. Then they sold us burgers whenever we tried to rent good behavior from our own children with a Happy Meal, which they ingested approximately eight molecules of but liked the toy, which we impaled in our bare feet while stumbling out of bed at 3 a.m. for antacid to counteract the Quarter Pounder we ingested every single molecule of, plus large fries, and lived to regret.
Now the kids won't go into any restaurant with us present, but McD's still needs us. Hence the putatively adult Arch Deluxe.
The chain's last big effort of this sort was the McLean Deluxe, a response to the supposed dietary consciousness of the Dockers generation. But that fizzled, so now comes what is essentially a McFat Deluxe: a quarter pounder oozing with a spicy sauce consisting of, the Ad Review Taste Test suggests, equal parts Dijon mustard and Oil of Olay.
Introducing this product to the mass market are two spots from Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, and deluxely arch they are. Instead of running from McDonald's juvenile image, Fallon has confronted it head-on.
"We have a very special guest today," chirps a teacher to her class of second-graders, to begin one spot. "This is Jane's dad, and he is the manager at McDonald's!"
The kids are impressed. Hands shoot up, and they excitedly shout out questions. "Do you know Ronald McDonald?" "Yeah, I know Ronald OK." "Do you make the Big Mac?" "Yes, I get to make Big Macs." "Do you make cheeseburgers?" "Yes. I even get to make ... the Arch Deluxe!"
Suddenly, silence. Hands go down. Little eyes widen in horror. "Eeeeyuchhh," the kids say, as Janey lowers her head in humiliation. Then a product shot and voice-over: "The burger with the grown-up taste. McDonald's Arch Deluxe."
A second, equally charming ad depicts a 13-year-old boy and his date at a McDonald's. She is neat and demure, with good posture and "sensible" written all over her. He, on the other hand, is a boy. He's ordered a cheeseburger, which he promptly dissects to remove--and fling--the pickle chips. He squishes the burger flat, licks his fingers, wipes his nose with his sleeve and generally behaves like a child. She is distressed, but stoic, as we hear her interior monologue: "You know, it's true. We do mature faster than boys." Which is why she's eating an Arch Deluxe.
Kudos to Fallon for courageously casting plain looking kids, vs. latter-day Shirley Temples, and for feeling free to bludgeon us with the point. Within a few weeks, everyone in America will understand the Arch Deluxe promise, and millions will show up to sample it.
Whether they will like it is a separate question, but either way, McDonald's cannot rest. In 20 years, boomers will be positively geriatric, and they'll want something bland and soft from the Golden Age Arches.
Copyright May 1996 Crain Communications Inc.