McDonald's really wants people to think it cares about community. But go figure, not everyone is convinced.
The brand's new ad from Leo Burnett, which aired Sunday during NFL games and on the Golden Globe Awards, focuses on McDonald's franchises that have, over the past 20 years, used their roadside signs to support, celebrate or otherwise acknowledge local and national events, both happy and tragic—everything from 9/11 to the homecoming of troops to a nearby base to Boston's spirit in the wake of the marathon bombing to the 30th wedding anniversary of a couple who've celebrated every year of marriage at a McDonald's. (The campaign includes a Tumblr page that explains some of the more specific examples.)
The centerpiece spot, part of a broader brand refresh that began with the quite well-liked "Archenemies" ad, got a less-than-enthusiastic response on Twitter during NBC's Globes telecast."McDonald's is presenting itself as the face of corporate kindness? PAY YOUR EMPLOYEES A LIVING WAGE," said one detractor, in a post retweeted more than 80 times. Said another,"@McDonalds I just threw up in my mouth watching your commercial… Desperate attempt to rescue your image."
To be fair, some viewers enjoyed the spot. "This McDonald's marquee sign is fantastic!" tweeted the handle of Des Moines radio station Star 102.5. But the backlash around the fair pay debate is predictable, given the high profile of the recent Fight for 15 protests. And that makes a sign like "Keep Jobs in Toledo" seem kind of tone deaf, even if it technically refers to a nearby factory at risk of closure.
Plus, the soundtrack—a children's choir covering indie pop band Fun's "Carry On"—makes such a clumsy grab for the audience's heartstrings that it's hard not to think of crocodile tears. In the words of another viewer, "I'm not lovin' it."
See more of the Twitter reaction below. What do you think of the ad?
Call me a chump, but I loved that McDonald's ad. #GoldebGlobes— Roger Simon (@politicoroger) January 12, 2015
NOT LOVIN' IT
Can't stop thinking about how weird and gross that McDonald's ad is.— Zach Floyd (@floyding) January 12, 2015
This McDonald's ad is like everything I've ever had to tell my clients "NO YOU HAVE NO STAKE IN THIS CONVERSATION, BIG BRAND!" Barf.— dulce calor (@dulcecalor) January 12, 2015
McDonald's has reached a new, delusional level of grandeur with their "marquee" commercial.— Greg Shumchenia (@GregShum) January 11, 2015
I really feel we can all come together as a country over how offensively manipulative and cynical that McDonald's ad is.— Erika Hall (@mulegirl) January 11, 2015