Leo Burnett’s ‘Signs’ for McDonald’s Inspires Conversation and Parody

By Erik Oster 

Yesterday, McDonald’s aired “Signs,” the latest in Leo Burnett’s brand refresh for the fast food giant, which aired during NFL Divisional Playoff games and the Golden Globe Awards yesterday.

Following on the heels of “Archenemies,” Leo Burnett’s latest continues to celebrate the love, this time focusing on the lovin’ between McDonald’s and local communities. The ad shows customized messages on McDonald’s signs (you know, the ones that say “Billions Served” by default), beginning with “Thank You Veterans” and also featuring “We Remember 911,” and “Boston Strong” while also offering some more personal signs, such as “We Believe In You Crystal.” At the end of the version running online, viewers are invited to explore the stories behind the signs at mcdonalds.tumblr.com.


If you find the leveraging of national tragedies and the whole “community lovin'” vibe a hard pill to swallow, you’re certainly not alone. As Adweek reported, there was a sizeable backlash against the ad on social media, with some calling out the corporate fast food giant for their sub-standard wages and others going so far as to call the ad “shameless,” “offensively manipulative” and even “delusional.” Not everyone hated the ad, as the Adweek post is quick to point out, but there is another indication that plenty are ridiculing it: a parody video went live in record time last night.