From 2nd June, 2,700 outdoor billboards in France will display the above icons. They’re clean, minimalist and lack any obvious form of branding. Yet they’re unmistakably adverts for McDonald’s. It’s iconography at its very best and refreshing to see an advertiser take a step back from the busy billboard designs that dominate the streets at the moment. These prove that to be eye-catching you don’t have to put all the bells and whistles on an outdoor campaign. They obviously rely hugely on the strength of McDonald’s brand identity, but sometimes simplicity is the best policy.
McDonald’s has supported the upcoming outdoor campaign with a promotional clip on YouTube.
In this case, McDonald’s is aware of the strength of its brand and isn’t shy of taking risks with it. The brand arguably reached its maximum levels of consumer awareness long ago, so McDonald’s is able to branch out with its creatives and freshen up its image every now and again. This trend isn’t just restricted to its activity in the French market. Its French fries packaging is being redesigned on a global scale for the first time ever to tie in with the FIFA World Cup and will feature 12 designs from street artists across the world. There will also be an app-activated augmented reality experience built into them where customers can play a football game using the packaging and their mobile phone. Both of these moves are an example of an advertiser not resting on its laurels and trying to activate the brand in new and exciting ways wherever possible.
McDonald’s does have a history of bold outdoor advertising. Take the below advert as an example. It’s a cropped image of a billboard that appeared across towns and cities last year, but is immediately associable with the McDonald’s brand. The colours and the product both scream McDonald’s. Are there any other brands in the world that could get away with a similar style of product-with-no-logo advert? Apple is the only other advertiser that springs to mind that could possibly attempt such a creative.
McDonald’s used a close-up of its French fries for a campaign last year.
If there’s one insight to take from this campaign, it’s that advertising doesn’t have to be cluttered. It obviously relies on having a strong and well-known brand to begin with, but can be hugely evocative when executed well. Some larger advertisers could take a leaf out of McDonald’s book and test the waters with similar creatives to see if they can achieve a similar reaction.
The world would be a dull and boring place without outdoor advertising. Billboards have become a fundamental part of our town and city landscapes, and great looking adverts like this new campaign are something that should be cheered about.