A girl rediscovers her imaginary friend in McDonald's Christmas ad

The U.K.'s continuing 'Reindeer Ready' campaign also includes an augmented reality element

Published On
Nov 12, 2021

Editor's Pick

McDonald's continues its "Reindeer Ready" holiday campaign in the U.K. for the fourth year running, this time with an emotive spot about a girl and her imaginary friend.

The little girl, Matilda, bonds with her lovable monster friend Iggy over the Christmas ritual of leaving out carrots (or McDonald's branded holiday "Reindeer Treats") for Santa's reindeer. Meanwhile, he gives her confidence—for example encouraging her as she performs a holiday show for relatives. As she grows up, her imaginary friend fades away, but then she's reminded him of again by a little kid at McDonald's waving a carrot at an imaginary creature. She rediscovers him hiding in her closet (there's some kind of Freudian metaphor there) and the film ends with her putting out carrots again for the family.

While it's not the first time we've seen imaginary friends in Christmas ads (notably John Lewis's Monty the Penguin and Moz the Monster, who bears a passing resemblance to Iggy), thanks to nice performances and a well-chosen music track, a cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," by Mabel, the spot is suitably heart-tugging. The directors are Bert & Bertie of Object and Animal.

The soundtrack is available for download, with 10 pence from each sale going to McDonald’s charity partner, FareShare. As part of this partnership McDonald’s will also be paying for the redistribution of food for the equivalent of five million meals to families in need.

Leo Burnett also developed an augmented reality experience for parents to capture the moment a reindeer enters their home and eats the “Reindeer Treats” left out by their children, giving them a video to share with their children on Christmas morning. There will also be a 25-day countdown advent calendar for families to use, offering daily content like “How to” crafting videos, colouring sheets, games and more.

 “We’re lucky in this industry to be encouraged to be childlike and live in our imaginations," said Chaka Sobhani, global chief creative officer, Leo Burnett, in a statement. "But for most people, as we grow up, the pressures of life can mean we often forget how to remember those things that made us dream and believe. Luckily, small but meaningful rituals—like leaving carrot sticks out for the reindeer—can sometimes be all it takes to reignite that festive belief."

Meanwhile, for those who want a different take on imaginary friends set to Cyndi Lauper covers, see Dutch e-retailer Bol.com's brilliant twist on the holiday ad here



Nov 12, 2021
Client :
Agency :
Leo Burnett-London
Chief Marketing Officer S.V.P :
Michelle Graham-Clare
Director of Marketing :
Steve Howells
Head of Marketing Affinity Family & Trust :
Chloe Bissell
Head of PR and social media :
Louise Page
Brand Manager :
Amber Myers
Campaign Assistant :
Maxime Van de Riet
Creative Agency :
Leo Burnett Studio
Chaka Sobhani
Creative Director :
James Millers
Creative Director :
Andrew Long
Creative Team :
Cristina Rosique Gomez
Creative Team :
Amy Bushill
Head of Planning :
Tom Sussman
Planning Director :
Hamish Cameron
Planner :
Thomas Schofield
Client Partner :
Sam Houlston
Account Team :
Steph Bates
Account Team :
Alex Light
Account Team :
Nicola Kuan
Account Team :
Carys Parry
Project Director :
Siobhan Mulcahy
Head of TV Production :
Graeme Light
Media Buying Agency :
Production Company :
Object & Animal
Director :
Bert & Bertie
Producer :
Lucy Gossage
Editor :
Eve Ashwell
Editor :
The Assembly Rooms
Lighting cameraman/ Director of Photography :
James Whitaker
Casting Director :
Hammond & Cox
Recording Studio :
Sam Ashwell
Recording Studio :
Jake Ashwell
Recording Studio :
Post-Production :
VFX Supervisor :
Jules Janaud
2D Supervisor :
Christian Baker
CG Supervisor :
Jay Khan
Animation Supervisor :
Brad Silby
Colorist :
Steffan Perry
Flame :
Darran Nicholson
Producer :
Alexia Paterson
Producer :
Sophie Harrison
Production Coordinator :
Chloe Dunn
Production Assistant :
Poppy Chadwick
Account Team :
Laurence Ruthven
Account Team :
Patrick McDermott
Media Planner :
Becky France
Media Planner :
Jess Bates
Media Buyer :
Alex D’Albertanson
Media Buyer :
Paul Milsom
Media Buyer :
Rajvi Yadav
Executive Creative Director :
Stephen Bushe
Digital Designer :
Jade Wilson
Account Team :
Daniella Ungemuth
Account Team :
Gemma Downing
Account Team :
Kristen Lane
Consultant :
The Red Consultancy
Consultant :
Georgie Chapman
Consultant :
Lauren Barry
Consultant :
Sophie Kinsella
Consultant :
Charlie Madsen

Need a credit fix? Contact the Creativity Editors

Project Type