You might want to check the name of your burger before making your next order at a Netherlands McDonald’s.
For the brand’s “Always Open for Good Times” campaign, and to launch the Maestro burger, TBWA\Neboko hired an actual orchestra to intensely serenade people who ordered it.
This went about as well as expected. Upon ordering, unsuspecting customers were suddenly bombarded by the explosive sound of a 60-piece orchestra chanting the burger’s name. The orchestra was about 50 meters (164 feet) away in a nearby building, and were watching orders take place live from big screens.
It gets weirder.
Customers took their seats to the crooning of “Yummy, yummy, yummy” from musicians, who also appeared on screens in the restaurant. When they sat, before taking their first bites, they were immediately accosted for their names by a glamorous soprano.
Names: Given. Is that the ticket to a peaceful lunch? Think again: “Jane, Jane, Jane, take a bite, take a bite,” the orchestra choir sings, led by director Guido Dieteren. And in case the pressure wasn’t high enough: “Heaven on earth is about to begin! Jane, just let it all in!”
This madness continues through the first mouthful (“10 million tastebuds getting all excited, going crazy, going nuts!”) and ostensibly for the rest of the meal. Hopefully these people were able to eat under pressure. We would have panicked and made a run for the door, cured of McDonald’s forever.
But apparently that sense of the unknown is part of what made this fun for the agency.
“It’s always thrilling filming an act of this scale and not knowing if it’ll go exactly as you want,” muses TBWA\Neboko’s chief creative officer, Darre van Dijk. “This commercial sets a very high standard for the spontaneous moments of joy we will capture for McDonald’s in our new campaign.”
Is joy really the operative word…?
“All of us had goosebumps at various occasions and you can see and feel that in the final film,” van Dijk adds. “It is always a challenge to create something at this scale, especially when it is live, and we are very happy that McDonald’s is eager to share in this challenging approach.”
The ad was shot in one day, with 13 customers filmed in all. Only a handful—those with the “strongest engagement”—were used in the end. (Though if their deer-in-headlight reactions reflect strong engagement, we’re pretty sure the others had some pretty unharmonious responses.)
The campaign will showcase other such “feel-good surprises” throughout its run. At the end of the shoot, lucky guests were able to meet the orchestra next door. It doesn’t appear that any tomatoes were thrown.
Below, check out the making-of, which in a lot of ways is more compelling than the ad itself. You get to see where they hid a bunch of cameras (making the final effect a bit creepier), and find out what the orchestra had to do in real-time to make this work.
Think writing a Facebook post in real-time is hard? Dieteren explains how everything, from the number of steps the customer made, to whether they paid using coins and cash, needed an appropriate musical backdrop on the fly. Players needed to be attentive to any cues he might throw at them, all while watching victims—er, customers—closely to ensure their playing would match spontaneous movement.
In its own way, it’s a masterpiece in real-time social stunts.
Client: McDonald’s Netherlands
Music: Guido Dieteren (Guido’s Orchestra) & Darius Dante
Production agency: Wefilm
Locations: McDonald’s Arnhem Central & Luxor Live Arnhem