McDonald’s Is Using Nostalgia to Tell Parents It’s OK to Feed Their Kids Chicken McNuggets

Leo Burnett work highlights food changes

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If you're a parent, you probably want to give your kids something better than what you had. That's exactly what a father does for his daughter in a new 60-second spot from Leo Burnett for McDonald's, promoting changes to its menu like the removal of artificial preservatives from the fast-food giant's chicken nuggets.  

By using split screen and an acoustic version of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," the ad tries to convey the emotional nature of McDonald's menu changes. 

"There's an undeniable level of nostalgia tied to the McDonald's brand and its food," said Britt Nolan, Leo Burnett USA's chief creative officer. "We set out to capture that relationship in a sincere, simple way that today's parents can relate to and feel good about sharing with their own kids."

On Monday, McDonald's announced that beyond removing artificial preservatives from its chicken nuggets, pork sausage patties, omelet-style eggs and scrambled eggs, the company would also be rolling out new buns that are free of high-fructose corn syrup and using chicken that's not treated with antibiotics. 

"More than ever, people care about their food—where it comes from, what goes into it and how it's prepared," said Mike Andres, president of McDonald's USA, in a statement. "We're making changes to ensure the food we're proud of is food our customers love and feel good eating, and we remain committed to our continuing food journey at McDonald's."

To make consumers aware of the changes to its food, the company also took out two full-page print ads (see below) in The New York Times and the Washington Post. 


Client: McDonald's

Agency: Leo Burnett Chicago

Campaign: Chicken McNuggets

Spot: "Better Chicken McNuggets"

Chief Creative Officer: Britt Nolan

Executive Vice President Creative Director: John Hansa

Creative Director: Rob Calabro

Creative Director: Ben Steward

Senior Vice President Executive Producer: Denis Giroux

Senior Producer: Beth Dolnick

Senior Business Manager: Shirley Costa

Senior Talent Manager: Linda Yuen

Executive Vice President, Planning Director: Lance Koenig

EVP, Account Director: Catherine Davis

SVP, Account Director: Josh Raper

Account Director: Amber Stanze

Account Supervisor: Richard Henderson

Production company: Story Films

Director: Blair Hayes

Post production: Cutters

Editor: Jacob Kuehl

Finish: Flavor

Audio production:  Matt Miller @ Lime

Colorist: Shane Reed @ Apache

Media: OMD

@KristinaMonllos Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.