A Forlorn Wooden Doll Finds Love at Her Local McDonald’s in Brand’s Holiday Ad

Something you won't find in a Happy Meal

Ah, the holidays! A time for sharing, love and … McDonald's? 

In "Juliette the Doll," a charming little ad by Leo Burnett London, a toyshop owner pulls a vintage doll, Juliette, out of a fading box. "Maybe this year," he whispers, setting her in the window. Days pass. People make purchases. Unsurprisingly, our heroine is never one of them. (Who plays with dolls anymore when there are VR Gears to give?) 

Juliette peers forlonly out the window, offering passersby her best demure poses. Her eyes drift, ever more often, to the cheerful McDonald's across the snowy street, where people seem to be having a grand old time. 

Dec. 25 finally arrives. When the shopkeeper glances at the window, he finds Juliette has gone. We'll give you one guess where she went. 

There's a lot of love going on at McDonald's, but Juliette finally sets her sights on a shopping bag containing Meteor Mike, a kind of yellow Buzz Lightyear without the goofy helmet (and more hair). As Juliette slips into the bag with her new betrothed, she offers a last wave at her old caretaker. Boy, are those kids in for a surprise when they check their shopping at home! 

The piece ends with two simple words: "Good times." 

The work is an expression of McDonald's role as a fueling post for families amid the season's hustle and bustle, and kicks off an eight-week holiday campaign that features a lot more technology than meets the eye here: In addition to all the usual suspects (out-of-home, digital, radio and in-store ads), special tray mats will feature augmented reality technology from Blippar.

"Juliette the Doll" is also an innovation lovechild, despite its seemingly modest origins. Its creation included 3-D printing, puppeteering and CGI, with Juliette's face painted on by hand. 

"McDonald's may not be a brand people immediately associate with Christmas, but it plays a big, perhaps unsung role," explain Leo Burnett creatives Phillip Meyler and Darren Keff.  "Millions of people from all walks of life pass through the doors during the festive period, rich or poor, old or young—everyone from an old-fashioned girl from a bygone era, to a futuristic fella from another planet." 

It's good to know some things will last the ravages of time. And while it isn't exactly heartening to know that our need for fast food is what will last (as opposed to sweet hand-carved toys), the execution is just charming enough to compell us to concede the point. 

Client: McDonald's U.K.
Head of Marketing, Brand and Experience, McDonald's UK: Katie Parker
Brand Manager, McDonald's UK: Hannah Pain
Agency: Leo Burnett, London
CCO: Chaka Sobhani
Creative Director: Pete Heyes, Matt Lee
Art Director: Phillip Meyler, Darren Keff
Copywriter: Philip Meyler, Darren Keff
Account Team: Simon Hewitt, Sam Houlston, Ailsa McQuaid and Gracie Smith
Agency Producer: Lou Pegg
Director: Gary Freedman
Producer: Jason Kemp
Editor: Adam Spivey
Post Production: MPC
Sound Design: Sam Robson
Music: Woodwork Music
DOP: Jan Velicky
Model Makers: Artem