McDonald’s Previews DDB, Burnett Spots

CANNES, FRANCE In a unique press conference that ended with a Euro-beachified Ronald McDonald stopping by for a chat with John Montgomery, executive creative director at Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett, the fast-food giant previewed new advertising for the Summer Olympics and the year at the International Ad Festival here.

All the TV spots are part of McDonald’s new “Rolling Energy” global marketing strategy, featuring the now broadly recognized worldwide themeline, “I’m lovin’ it” and the ubiquitous signature musical notes (ba da ba ba ba) that have become the audio trademark for the brand.

Six new Olympic global spots, two from Omnicom Group’s DDB in Chicago and four from Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett in Chicago, were shown. The Burnett work features brand icon Ronald McDonald taking part in Olympic events like diving, synchronized swimming and the hammer throw. In the synchronized swimming spot, for example, we see a familiar booted, striped-stockinged leg shooting up among the naked human feet of the real swimming champs. “Surfaces” stars sister tennis champs Venus and Serena Williams volleying their way around the world; “Calling Home,” with a cameo appearance by pro basketball player Yao Ming, promotes the “McDonald’s Champion Crew” that will be sent from various countries to serve athletes, coaches and spectators at the Athens games. And in a move to appeal to the marketer’s major target, moms and children, Burnett created an emotional spot saluting pregnant women around the world that ends with the line “Here’s to the original Olympic effort.”

Two other spots, from Heye & Partner in Germany (where “I’m lovin’ it” originated) and U.S. Hispanic agency dRM DDB, were also introduced.

McDonald’s president and CEO Charlie Bell said, “We are removing all borders and barriers—one brand attitude and one brand message to 40 million customers worldwide a day.”

Larry Light, global chief marketing officer, added, “The ‘I’m lovin’ it’ campaign launched nine months ago. It has achieved unprecedented awareness, as high as 96 percent in some parts of the world. In less than one year, we have become a brand that’s suddenly cool. We’re back on the Roper top 10 listing of powerful brands in the world.”

Speaking of McDonald’s delegation of 40 this year at the festival, Light said, “We are here to listen, learn and gain inspiration for the great art of creating integrated advertising, by interacting with the best creative minds from around the world.”