Upcycled Happy Meal toys and McCafe cups feature in McDonald’s ad touting environmental goals

U.K. ad themed around 'Change a little, change a lot' follows release of company's 'Plan for Change'

Published On
Oct 08, 2021

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McDonald's is touting its new stance on the environment ahead of the COP26 climate summit, in a new U.K. TV ad campaign breaking days after it set out its latest global emissions targets.

The spot highlights some of the fast feeder's latest environmental efforts. These include converting used cooking oil into biodiesel for its trucks, recycling McCafé cups into greeting cards and repurposing old Happy Meal toys into materials to build kids’ playgrounds. (The latter is particularly notable, as McDonald's has faced criticism over its plastic toys from U.K. groups, and recently announced it would give them a more sustainable makeover.)

The ad states that McDonald’s plans to collect, recycle, compost or reuse as much waste as possible, “which just goes to show when you change a little, you change a lot.” Featuring some real-life McDonald's employees, the spot was directed by Thomas Ralph of Caviar for Leo Burnett London.

Read about McDonald's more planet-friendly Happy Meals. 

The ad is the first of three from the company's U.K. and Ireland arm, following its "Plan for Change" revealed earlier this week with its new global environmental statement.

On Monday, McDonald's set out a new target to cut global greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. In the U.K. and Ireland the company stated it would reduce emissions to zero by 2040. The "Plan for Change" also sets out goals and actions across four key areas—planet, people, restaurants and food.

Two further TV ads will highlight its efforts to aid sustainable farming, and to help young people. They will also be supported by radio ads, again featuring real people McDonald’s works with. A social campaign on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube will offer "bite size" information on each of the changes McDonald’s is making, while in-restaurant support will be delivered by trayliners and posters.

"This new brand platform will enable us to talk about the actions we’re taking to improve opportunities for young people, help growers adopt sustainable farming practices and ensure our packaging is made from renewable, recycled or certified sources," stated Michelle Graham-Clare, chief marketing officer, McDonald’s U.K. and Ireland. 


Oct 08, 2021
Client :
Agency :
Leo Burnett-London
Chaka Sobhani
Executive Creative Director :
Mark Elwood
Copywriter :
Rory Hall
Art Director :
Steph Ellis
Designer :
Augusta Lindquist
Planner :
Joe Beveridge
Business Lead :
Sam Houlston
Account Director :
Jessica Lyons
Account Manager :
Imi Malone
Account Executive :
Hope-Precious Engele
Project Manager :
Mick Bailey
Agency Producer :
Becks O’Sullivan
Agency Producer :
Samara Zagnoiev
Agency Producer :
Anna Cartwright
Media Buying Agency :
Media Planner :
Laurence Ruthven
LA Production Company :
Live Action Director :
Thomas Ralph
Radio Producer :
Adam Furman
PR Agency :
Red Consultancy
Editor :
Charlie Rotberg
Post-Production Company :
Audio Post-Production Company :
Photographer :
Theo McInnes
Production Company Producer :
Sarah Mavity
Offline Editor :

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