© 2010 Saty + Pratha Take courage!

A tale of two commercials.

Here versus There rant: When I worked at Saatchi & Saatchi in Toronto, a million years ago, I would be geekily excited anytime the SHOTS reel came out. Or, when we got to watch a stack of European commercials. They seemed so much funnier, cleverer and better produced than the ones I saw on my home tv. I assumed it was a grass-is-greener kind-of-thing. But, having been here a little while now, I can definitely say that commercials here are better. Pardon the generalization.
I started thinking about all this because of a McDonald’s commercial that is on air here. It made me think about how all the McDonald’s ads in North America have generica commuters, office-dwellers and that guy with the jew-fro doing mundane activities set to house music. (BTW, when did it become mandatory to use house music in consumer goods commercials? Because 18 to 34-year olds liked the Mitsubishi ad with the Dirty Vegas drop?). There aren’t even any distinguishing features, they could be shown in any market at all, swap in any product, too. In comparison, the McD’s ad shown in London is soooooper British. I imagine the brief here is the same as the brief everywhere — “Give British people the warm fuzzies when they think about McDonald’s, and try your absolute bestest to hide that it is fast food.”
So, in North America, we come up with:
GENERIC PEOPLE + DOING NUMBINGLY MUNDANE ACTIVITIES + RANDOM-O HOUSE MUSIC + McDONALD’S + BASEST OF PRODUCTION BUDGETS = Love?
Watch how the creatives interpret the brief here:
BITCHING ABOUT THE WEATHER (the favourite love-to-hate subject of the locals) + BRITISH FARMERS & GROWERS (current attitudes towards food) + FUCKIN’ AWESOME PRODUCTION  = completely awesome commercial and McDonald’s Looooooooooooove.
The walkaway as a consumer? McDonald’s is the chivalrous defender of Weather (that lovable scamp!), and employs local farmers (the economy!) to produce foods that are good for you (so what if they combined in a way that isn’t good for you?).
Another example: ‘Here’ McCain ads kick ‘home’ McCain ads asses. Instead of being ploddy and peculiar as our homegrown McCain ads are, the ads we see here are actually cute. If you are selling something as daft as potato in the form of smiley face, you might as well go all the way — a storybook look with a workshop of sorts, one straight from the imagination of a clever child!
I’m guessing the target market for this commercial is the “Mummy, I want!” naggy child, but you know what, I want a mitted-hug, too!
That last, somewhat hesitant hug is the best.
P.

2 Comments

  1. Posted 2010/08/06 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    I like this McDonalds ad: http://youtu.be/ibYZ-Ey0EqA for the same reasons: clever, whimsical, tailored to the audience, and very well made.

  2. Pratha
    Posted 2010/08/07 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    this one is great! They actually had world cup versions of it, too! The earlier one was very enthusiastic and go-go-England, but after they lost, the one that aired was all mopey and woe-is-me! Just awesome!

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