McDonald’s Oscars Campaign (Allegedly) Sparks Controversy

By Patrick Coffee 

Today in Life Imitates an AgencySpy Comment Thread news, someone wanted Lewis Lazare of the Chicago Business Journal to know that the Leo Burnett McDonald’s ad that ran during the Oscars bore a striking resemblance to work from the chain’s other agency, DDB.

Seems that the responsible party pointed Mr. Lazare back to a print ad, created by DDB’s Australian operations, that paired the ingredients of certain McDonald’s staples with the narrative elements of classic films. Here’s the work in question in case you forgot:

ddb mcd


At the time, the controversy surrounding this particular Cannes winner concerned the fact that it appeared in a tiny local publication just in time to qualify for the awards. The placement was…questionable.

Now both Lazare and several of our most insistent tipsters tell us that the Burnett Oscars work obviously mimicked the earlier DDB work, because how could two teams independently come up with an idea tying the world’s biggest fast food chain to a series of popular film franchises?!

A McD’s spokesperson did have a perfectly vague statement about the “controversy”:

“Great ideas are meant for sharing, and we are often inspired by creative campaigns in other McDonald’s markets. We’re proud of all of our agencies’ work on our behalf.”

Our Unofficial PR Translator tells us to read this as, “Yes, the concepts are similar because we love consistency in messaging…idiot.”

The chain of events is not surprising: someone leaked the much-mocked “Lovin’ Beats Hatin'” line — which has yet to appear in any ads verbatim — to the Wall Street Journal in what now looks like an attempt to embarrass the client as its creative review came to a close.

THAT story is completely believable.