Arnold Touts McD’s Dollar Menu

Arnold regained mo men tum with longtime client Mc Donald’s last week, unveiling a campaign touting the fast-food chain’s Dollar Menu with the tagline, “You know what you want.”

The Boston-based Ha vas agency last Friday began rolling out a pair of 30-second TV commercials, separately starring comic Wayne Brady and singer Alison Krauss, in New York and Connecticut. Print and radio ads are also in the mix. The campaign will be extended throughout the Northeast in May.

Brady’s spot showcases the improvisational skills he displays on ABC’s Whose Line Is It Anyway? “What sounds good is up to you,” a voiceover says. “Your tastes. Your appetite. Your dollar. … You know what you want.”

McDonald’s is currently testing $1-or-less menus in about one-third of its 13,000 U.S. restaurants. The Dollar Menu, probably the best-established of the ef forts, has been rolled out to nearly 3,000 stores, following its late-2000 introduction in New York, said Jon Tracosas, evp and general manager of Ar nold Mc Grath, New York. Ar nold’s Boston and New York offices collaborated on the new campaign.

The agency introduced the Dollar Menu in 2000 with ads tagged, “The choice is yours.” The new work represents “the evolution [of the advertising] from educational efforts to a brand positioning,” Tracosas said.

Initial spending on the new work is $15-20 million, sources said. The Oak Brook, Ill., client spent $630 million last year on ads, per CMR. DDB Chicago is McDonald’s lead agency. That shop shot a new round of ads last week for McDonald’s “We love to see you smile” brand campaign, sources said.

Arnold’s effort represents the latest effort by McDonald’s to find the right branding approach to compete against similar $1-or-less offerings from rivals such as Wendy’s and Jack in the Box. Earlier this year, McDonald’s touted its “McValue Menu” in some markets—notably Southern California—with ads that featured a version of the song “The Sign” by Ace of Base. That work was from Moroch-Leo Burnett USA in Dallas and Chicago. It was unclear whether Arnold’s latest effort would affect that assignment.

For Arnold, the chance to craft the high-profile campaign is a coup for the agency, which had seen much of its McDon ald’s work move to other shops. Two years ago, Arnold suffered a stinging defeat when the Boston-area franchisee account shifted to Burnett.

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