Thursday, January 14, 2010

McDonald's Steamy New Ads

Every once in a while, a BIG traditional marketer likes to step out of their comfort zone and do something "edgy." It is unfortunately often just a one-off: maybe there were a few bucks left in the marketing budget, maybe some "youngster" at an ad agency said "hey man, this will be really cool. Let's get some street cred!"

So the latest of the big guys to "think different" is McDonald's, not a marketer that does much to think outside the bun (zing!). What we see here is an execution by Cossette, a Vancouver, Canada shop. They've re-thought the traditional bus shelter/outdoor placement, by doing something interesting and dynamic. To tout McDonald's coffee-sector awakening (they are pulling out ALL the stops to challenge Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts), we are given a bus shelter ad for coffee with "steam" at intervals showing how nice and steamy a cup of their Joe could be. It works great contextually. In the winter, at a bus stop, who ISN'T thinking they'd like something hot to drink?

Personally I think this is pretty cool. It would be AWESOME if they could somehow do a version that emits a freshly brewed coffee aroma. Who doesn't love that?

Of course, this isn't the first time someone's tried to shake up the tired outdoor space with something new. A couple years ago, a jeans brand put real pairs of their jeans in shelter ads. Another time, a local lottery stacked cash inside a shelter ad. Famously, I remember the FANTASTIC "smoking" billboard in Times Square. It advertised some brand of cigarettes and it always delighted me as a kid (I'm sure I wasn't the only one) to walk past and gaze up at the "smoke" coming from the sign.

So, does this steamy signage signal the vanguard of an edgy new approach for McDonald's or is it just a glitch and will it be business as usual for the burger giant? We know that some other fast-food players have been upping the game recently. There has been the weirdness of the Burger King "King" campaigns and now we have all the buzz Domino's has gotten for the "We suck" approach. Watching to see what happens.

Thanks for reading.
-Jonathan Gardner

1 comment:

  1. As long as it's not near the steam rising from someone who didn't pick up after their dog. The similarities with their coffee are quite striking at times.