McDonald’s rewards W+K’s creativity with the toughest brief in town

Agencies and some ad commentators often say that creativity – however it’s defined – is (finally) on the way back as the digital tide results in a wave of online direct marketing that fails to shift attitudes or sell more stuff.

Creativity is the only real discriminator they say. It’s why WPP now calls itself the “creative transformation” company; maybe shoehorning creativity in with digital transformation, which is where the money is supposed to be.

But do clients believe it? Or are they still happy to shovel budget into online chiefly because it comes with reams of data, however dubious some of it may be.

Maybe some do. McDonald’s has just appointed Wieden+Kennedy New york to handle Happy Meals, the last bit of the account with DDB whose much-puffed ‘We Are Unlimited’ once had the whole shebang in the US.

And McDonald’s says: “WKNY has been instrumental in elevating our marketing work and propelling our business forward through creative excellence. Our fans’ McDonald’s experience often begins with their first Happy Meal, and this strategic shift will allow us to deliver a more cohesive creative approach throughout their lifelong journey with the brand.”

Creative excellence might be a sore point with McDonald’s as arch rival Burger King regularly picks up gongs and accolades for its ads, although many of them are stunts. McD’s advertising, in the UK at least, has mostly been exemplary.

W+KNY produced a recent winner for McD with its WcDonald’s spin on Japanese anime.

Wouldn’t be entirely surprising if the agency produced something on the same lines for Happy Meals. These are surely the ultimate agency nightmare: nothing much to do with food and still all too redolent of the ghastly Ronald McDonald.

As many an agency has found, set the bar high and you actually increase the chances of a whack on the head. Bon chance.

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