Why Leo Burnett London Turned to Print to Bring Its Ideas to Life for McDonald’s, McCafe
Playfulness meets simplicity and stunning graphics create intimacy in the latest efforts for the brands
The poster, one of the oldest forms of advertising, continues to be one of the most powerful, if done right. Leo Burnett London proves the effectiveness and appeal of this basic form of communication in a series of striking print campaigns for McCafé and McDonald’s.
For the McCafé campaign, McDonald’s wanted to highlight to customers that its coffee is brewed from the finest grade of Arabica beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. Beautiful imagery by renowned hand artist Guido Daniele helped bring this claim to life in the print work.
The next print series is a celebration of the fast food giant’s “all-time favorites” that are instantly recognizable by consumers around the world. Don’t believe us? The “Search” campaign drives the point home with snapshots of search engines auto-completing in favor of for McDonald’s menu icons.
The team takes the global theme a step further with the “Learn” campaign, delivering this message: No matter where you are in the world, McDonald’s menu items transcend language barriers. In each poster, whether it’s in Hawaiian or Hungarian or Vietnamese, you learn the words in those languages for items such as clock, key, camera and guitar. You also learn that the word for a Big Mac is Big Mac.
So why did the agency bring these ideas to life in print? We spoke with Board Account Directors Sam Houlston and Simon Hewitt; Senior Account Manager Emily Reed; and Creative Directors Matt Lee and Peter Heyes at Leo Burnett London, to learn about their inspiration.
In the age of all things digital, how do you think the print ad has evolved?
The core principles of the best print ads actually remain the same; they are simple, impactful and rewarding. And this is all the more important in the digital age, as print ads have to work so much harder to compete for attention. Largely, people engage with print media less than ever before, and are instead more often absorbed in a screen.
However, the digital age has opened up more opportunities for us in scope to dramatize the work. For example, we watch the first two letters type into a search bar and then the bar of suggestions drops down in the animated version of “Search,” which is currently live at Piccadilly Circus.
What were McDonald’s and McCafé hoping to accomplish with their initial brief for “Search” and “Rainforest”?
The marketplace is completely saturated with print work that doesn’t reward you. With both “Search” and “Rainforest” we wanted to achieve some cut-through by making people look and think twice about what they were seeing.
What inspired “Search” and “Rainforest”?
“Search” was inspired by the omnipresent search bar. Is it now modern man’s most used tool? In any case, it is universally recognizable irrespective of search engine, and we’re all familiar with the concept of its suggested terms being a barometer of popularity.
In a fast-paced culture obsessed with fame and popularity, we loved the idea of placing our favorite McDonald’s menu items above whatever those huge, famous cultural concepts might be. There’s a real knowing twinkle and charm to the references we chose. For example, to position the Big Mac as bigger than the creation of the universe (Big Bang) kept a playfulness to the work, which was important.
The idea for “Rainforest” was borne out of the fact that the McCafé coffee bean blend is sourced from Central and South America. We wanted to deliver that provenance message about the beans’ Brazilian origin, but we also liked the immediacy and intimacy of hands and the human elements of care and craft for the coffee that they imply. Espousing hands with a rich range of animal references for Brazil led us to Guido Daniele’s incredible animal hand artistry, and we knew we had found something special and premium with tons of stand out.
Thoughts on how not to use a print ad?
Don’t cram it full of information. Edit, edit, edit. Talk, don’t shout. They can hear you.