McDonald's Feel-Good Ad Is an ’80s Homage, Without Food or Restaurants

The brand tries to lift people's spirits with a soundtrack from Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Convergent TV Summit returns March 21-22. Hear timely insights from TV industry experts virtually or in person in NYC. Register now to secure your early bird pass.

Some brands are so familiar they don’t need a logo or words to be recognized. McDonald’s is one of them. In fact, it’s latest spot doesn’t feature any of its signature menu items or discernible restaurants.

The uplifting campaign, created by agency Leo Burnett London, celebrates McDonald’s iconic golden arches—but not in their usual form. Instead, the arches are represented by people playfully raising their eyebrows.

“Raise Your Arches” depicts a group of office workers who conspire to escape work and go to McDonald’s together. Featuring no dialogue, the ad shows the employees making eye contact and smiling at each other across the office floor as they arch their eyebrows—which everyone understands as an unspoken invitation to gather at the fast-food restaurant. 

The soundtrack is the 1985 song Oh Yeah by Yello, perhaps best known as the soundtrack of the closing credits of the 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. 

British filmmaker Edgar Wright, known for movies including Baby Driver, Shaun of the Dead and Last Night in Soho, directed the ad through production company Moxie Pictures. 

McDonald’s teased the campaign on social media with an activation encouraging employees, influencers and fans to get involved in the eyebrow-raising action. It also released Snapchat and Instagram lenses that will lift a user’s brows. In stores, digital takeovers will transform McDonald’s golden arches signs at two restaurants to resemble the raised eyebrows. 

The campaign is launching in the U.K., but over the next year McDonald’s will continue the arches activity across 40 different markets. 

“In a challenging time, our Raise Your Arches invitation to McDonald’s provides the nation with a small but much-needed moment to let go and feel good,” Michelle Graham-Clare, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at McDonald’s UK & Ireland, said in a statement. “We hope the campaign raises arches and smiles across the country.” 


Client: McDonald’s
CMO, SVP: Michelle Graham-Clare
Director of marketing & media: Steve Howells
Head of marketing – affinity, trust & gamily: Hannah Pain
Head of customer communications & partnerships: Louise Page
Brand manager: Amber Myers
Advertising agency: Leo Burnett
CCO: Chaka Sobhani
Executive creative director: Mark Elwood
Creative directors: James Millers, Andrew Long
Senior creative: Gareth Butters
Copywriter: Gareth Butters
Art director: Joe Miller
Creative director of design: David Allen             
Designer: Jakk Breedon
Head of planning: Tom Sussman
Planning director: Joe Beveridge
Senior planner: Roxy Windisch
Head of account management: Sam Houlston
Business director: Jay Perry 
Account directors: Alice Pavey, Alex Light
Account manager: Carys Parry 
Account executive: Brittony Kelly
Head of project management: Jamie Teale
Head of McDonalds TV production: Graeme Light  
Media agency: OMD
Media team: Mandy Arora, Tejal Maru
Production company: Moxie Pictures
Director:  Edgar Wright
Editor: David Webb/ Final Cut
Producer: Doochy Moult
Post-production company: Framestore
(Darran Nicholson (Flame), Alexia Paterson (Producer) and Stef Perry (Colorist)
Audio post-production: Sam Ashwell/ 750mph
Photography and motion production: Prodigious
Head of art production: Jo Hodge
Photographer: Tom Van Schelven

Enjoying Adweek's Content? Register for More Access!