McDonald's: Spice on the grapevine

By Rashmi Menon , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | February 11, 2013
In its latest commercial, the fast food chain shows how people like to add spice while recounting stories in their day-to-day lives.

Gossip is hard to resist. And, it becomes even more enjoyable when people add their own version of spice to it. Fast food chain McDonald's uses this simple insight in a humorous way to promote its product, McSpicy burgers.

The new McDonald's TVC

The television commercial (TVC) is set in an office and shows a bunch of people retelling how one of their colleagues put in his papers in the boss's cabin. While it isn't clear how the first one came to know what transpired in the cabin, each person narrates what he has heard after adding a bit of spice, till what started as a simple story of handing in the resignation becomes one that describes an irate and insolent employee throwing the resignation letter, hurling rude words and even a glass of water on the boss's face. Finally, a voiceover at the end of TVC says, "Life main spice zaroori hai na? Isi liye McSpicy'.

Unlike other TVCs that have emphasised low price, this one focuses on one of the wide range of products under the McDonald's banner. Conceptualised by Leo Burnett, the TVC is a light-hearted take on what usually happens in the workplace. It is directed by Hemant Bhandari of Chrome Pictures.

Explaining the reason for using an office setting when most of its campaigns have featured youngsters, a senior creative team member says, "For the price-related advertising (that is for the Happy Price Menu), the emphasis is on college kids, teenagers and young adults who're still 'on campus' and yet to step into the professional world. They are more price-sensitive than office goers."

He adds that McDonald's does three kinds of advertising - price-related (Happy Price Menu, Rs 25 products, puraaney zamaaney ke daam ad others); product-related (special products on the menu like chicken nuggets, McSpicy, Egg breakfast) and Happy Meal Box (promotion-led for example, toys for children). This campaign falls in the second category.

Deepak Singh

Sourabh Mishra

Rumour has it...

Deepak Singh, executive creative director, Dentsu Communications says that although the TVC is nice, it could have been executed better. "I think the previous ads were much better. I loved the 'Happy Birthday' TVC and internationally 'McDonalds for everyone', as they were nicely written and beautifully executed; simple but still having all the ingredients needed for a perfect TVC," he says.

According to Sourabh Mishra, group chief strategy officer, Bates CHI & Partners, India, the concept is based on a very real, and interesting, human truth. "So, there is a very strong consumer connect. The interesting story brings a smile to your face. Also, the brand gets it spot-on in terms of the overall mood it creates with this communication, which is so very right for a fun category like fast food," he says. Mishra adds that showing a slightly older set of protagonists doesn't necessarily alienate the younger audience as long as the storyline is universal in its appeal.

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