McDonald's and Leo Burnett promote a perhaps-unlikely dietary choice for the millions of Super Bowl viewers likely eating chicken wings at that very moment or waiting for pizzas to arrive: the chain's line of salads.
In contrast to Wendy's, which had been offering a salad bar nationally since 1981, McDonald's and Burger King for many years did not have a salad option. But in 1985, McDonald's introduced salads, hoping at a minimum to reduce the "veto votes" seeking something healthier among familes deciding where to eat. Here the product gets the full Super Bowl treatment, signalling the chain's seriousness on the subject.
The salads at McDonald's would evolve over time. In 2000, the restaurant introduced the McSalad Shaker line of salads (one marketing pitch: 'Have a shake with your fries"). Those were eventually replaced by Premium Salads, more along the lines of fruit-and-walnut salads and chicken salad sandwiches introduced in 2004.
In 2008, Ad Age honored a living out-of-home ad campaign for McDonald's salads by Leo Burnett with a Creativity Award.
By 2016 the salad line included Bacon Ranch Salad & Buttermilk Crispy Chicken, Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad, Southwest Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Salad and a Side Salad. In Canada, kale had even made the menu in the Keep Calm, Caesar On Entree Salad Bowl, "a nutrient-rich lettuce blend with baby kale, delicately topped with delicious crispy bacon, real parmesan petals and roasted garlic focaccia croutons."
AGENCY: Leo Burnett