McDonald's introduces its Crispy Chicken Sandwich with an assist from its fries, Quarter Pounder and McRib

The main spot features the sandwich and thanks the other foods the brand is known for

Published On
Mar 01, 2021

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Now that McDonald’s has jumped into America's chicken sandwich craze with a new trio of offerings, it will begin airing ads that promote the sandwich while also thanking its famous fries and McRib. Oh, and napkins.

The spots, officially breaking next week, feature music from producer Tay Keith, who is also seen briefly in a studio shot in the main spot. “Succession” actor Brian Cox is back with his voiceover work for the world’s largest restaurant.

In the main spot, Cox touts the sandwich as being “from the maker of the world’s most stolen fries,” and mentions how the chain offers extra napkins while showing people eating Quarter Pounders. He also says the new chicken sandwich comes “from the creators of a sandwich phenomenon,” a reference not to this sandwich, but to the cult-favorite McRib.

The campaign gives viewers a closer look at the three types of chicken sandwiches—classic, spicy and deluxe—building upon social media mentions McDonald’s has used to tease their arrival. It follows the $5 sneaker style merch “drop” on on Feb. 18 that hyped the launch with swag such as hoodies and almost instantly sold out. 

"The excitement we’re seeing from customers, restaurant crew members and our franchisees around this new sandwich has been incredible, and that energy is definitely reflected in our advertising," Jennifer Healan, McDonald's VP of U.S. marketing, brand content and engagement, said in a statement. 

The sandwich officially debuted on Feb. 24, joining a seemingly never-ending list of fried chicken sandwich news. Recent additions to chain lineups included overhauled sandwiches from Wendy’s and KFC following the 2019 phenomenon of Popeyes’ chicken sandwich launch. Taco Bell — a Yum Brands sibling to KFC — announced this week that it's testing a crispy chicken sandwich taco in Nashville and Charlotte, North Carolina, starting in March, with plans for a nationwide debut later in the year. And Church’s Chicken rolled out new Texas tenders in late January.

McDonald’s agencies working on the drop and launch include Wieden & Kennedy New York and Callen on advertising, Publicis Groupe on digital marketing, OMD on paid media, TMS on retail, Boxer on brand packaging, Alma on additional marketing support and Golin, Burrell, Boden, IW Group and Lee Street on communications.

KFC, which works with Wieden & Kennedy Portland, focuses largely on its Colonel Sanders storytelling to hawk its chicken products, while Chick-fil-A's ads from McCann New York generally feature broader brand messaging. But those chains are already focused on chicken. McDonald's is telling a broader brand story in its longer chicken ads but it's also zooming in on the product itself.

Three 15-second spots feature closeups of the sandwiches, again with voiceover work by Cox. One shows the sandwich cut in half to highlight its crispy, juicy and tender attributes.


Another focuses on the spicy version of the sandwich, with sauce both above and below the chicken.


A third spot focuses on one of McDonald’s differentiating features: the buttered potato bun. Leading chicken chain Chick-fil-A has a standard buttered bun for its sandwich. Rivals Popeyes and KFC use buttery brioche buns. 


The 15-second ads close with an on-screen reminder to order ahead on the McDonald’s app.

There is also a 30-second cut down of the 45-second brand spot.