Aliens, a Shaved Head Tout Change for McD’s

Offbeat vignettes of McDonald’s customers are intended to illustrate change in a $60 million TV campaign backing the national launch of the fast-food chain’s “New Tastes Menu.”

Three, 30-second spots that broke Sunday claim that McDonald’s customers will experience and see something different at the restaurants, said Larry Zwain, senior vice president of marketing for the Oak Brook, Ill., chain.

A general market spot from lead McDonald’s agency DDB Chicago shows a woman eating one of the items from the menu as she walks with a green alien; a man who eats a hamburger, then shaves his head; and a woman sitting on a highway median snacking on a burger. “The goal was to do something that says there is a noticeable change going on at McDonald’s,” said Don Hoffman, the agency’s executive vice president, executive account director on McDonald’s.

The effort begins a second year with the “We love to see you smile” tagline, Zwain said.

“The focus, of course, is on the 40 or so new tastes on the menu,” Zwain said. “But we also wanted to present the items in a unique and comical way.”

The vignette style was also used for a spot from del Rivero Messianu, Miami, that targets the Hispanic market. Burrell Communications produced a spot targeting African Americans.

The menu includes Crispy Chicken McClub, BBQ Bacon Crispy Chicken, Mighty Wings, Sausage Breakfast Burrito and Arctic Orange Shake. “We are also using shell spots developed by the agencies that allow the vignettes to change,” Zwain said.

The marketing design is to appease the variety of appetites McDonald’s customers have in different markets and ethnic groups, Zwain said

McDonald’s spent $624 million on advertising in 1999 and $520 million during the first nine months of last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.