Despite the abysmal ratings and overly scripted comedic moments, this year’s Oscars managed to pull off some stellar moments. Most of which had little to do with the ceremony itself, but everything to do with advertising. GS&P New York pulled off a visual tour de force for Comcast Xfinity with Emily’s Oz which easily became Ad Age’s Ad of The Day. And then, there was the spot that managed to simply convey movie magic and captivate audiences weary of a bloated awards telecast. Right up until the brand reveal.
I’m talking about this wonderful spot from Leo Burnett Chicago for McDonalds.
Simple. Highly interactive. Perfect. Everyone was enthralled at the party I attended, yelling out answers, pointing at the screen and clapping their hands with every solved equation. Then came the reveal and with it a collective groan. “McDonalds?! Aw, I really liked that commercial. What a shame!”
In that moment, I understood the power of branding like never before. Here you had that right ingredients (pun intended) for a marketing slam dunk. Every ingredient except the most important one: a reputable brand.
McDonalds used to be cool. Growing up, we happily drank the marketing Kool-Aid, singing, “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese…” Fast forward through years of poor wages for its workers, questionable business practices, pink slime and other nutritional violations and you’re left with a brand image that’s severely tarnished. Not to mention all of the marketing missteps like this one. Now, it seems it might take a lot more happy meals, charitable actions and Ronald McDonald shuffling to get them back to where they used to be.
Oh, and what’s not helping is the wee bit of controversy about the originality of said Oscar spot.