This McDonald’s Ad Is Unskippable, but You’ll Appreciate Why

Leo Burnett Moscow's hand-washing ad has 120 million views

A photo of a person washing their hands in a sink with the McDonald's logo
The Russian ad for McDonald's was created by Leo Burnett Moscow. McDonald's Russia
Headshot of David Griner

Having fun with the skippable (or unskippable) aspects of an ad is a years-old tactic in the world of video advertising, but it’s a gimmick that’s still worth pausing to appreciate when done well.

Geico, of course, set the bar with its “Unskippable” campaign in 2015, which pulled off the seemingly impossible feat of creating a preroll ad that would go on to win the Cannes Lions Film Grand Prix. Ikea also tried, counterintuitively, to convince viewers not to skip ads by making them bizarrely boring.

The newest entry in this admittedly niche ad genre is from McDonald’s Russia, which has been running an unskippable preroll spot in recent weeks. The spot has a simple but well played premise:

Made by Leo Burnett Moscow, the same creative minds who brought us last year’s Trivial Pursuit Hotel, the spot is the kind of ad concept that seems so obvious, you’d think a thousand brands would be running something like it. And maybe some have, but this is the first time we’ve seen an ad use 20 seconds of unskippable preroll to represent the 20 seconds recommended for proper hand-washing.

Launched for Russian viewers on March 23, the ad has been viewed more than 120 million times, according to the agency.

A few other hand-washing projects of note have been Visa’s series of lighthearted PSAs with Olympic athletes practicing good cleanliness while confined at home, along with 72andSunny’s collection of posters featuring writings that take 20 seconds to read.

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."