Can McD’s succeed with commercials that don’t mention its name?
McDonald’s latest commercial stars the actress Mindy Kaling, but doesn’t mention its name or display its logo. The spot is part of McDonald’s first unbranded marketing campaign in which it attempts to use the power of the Coca-Cola brand and Google search to drive traffic — particularly younger consumers with smartphones — in its direction.
In the commercial, Ms. Kaling says, “According to some, there is a place where Coca-Cola tastes like so good. Go ahead, do a Google search for that place where Coke tastes so good. Yeah, right now. I’ll wait.”
After checking her own phone to some background music, Ms. Kaling says, “Got it? It’s crazy, right? When was the last time that anyone on the internet agreed on anything? That was a rhetorical question. The answer is never.”
The screen then transitions to a search field with the words “that place where Coke tastes SO good.” Underneath, copy appears that reads “is now selling any size for $1.”
A second spot, which features Ms. Kaling interacting with “beverage technician Rick” involves a back and forth between the two during which the word McDonald’s is bleeped out each time it is spoken. Ms. Kaling admonishes Rick for saying the chain’s name because each utterance will bring a bleep that makes it sound as if he is swearing. After a back and forth, the same search field pops up with the pitch for $1 Cokes.
As a New York Times report points out, McDonald’s has taken its unbranding to the limit. The company makes no mention of the campaign on its website or on any of its official social channels. The two YouTube pages where RetailWire found the new commercials had fewer than 20,000 views as of 3:00 p.m. yesterday.
The McDonald’s campaign is the second in recent weeks by a fast food chain looking to use the power of Google to its own benefit. Burger King and the tech giant are at odds over “Connected Whopper” spots designed to activate Google Home digital assistants with the question, “Okay Google, what is the Whopper burger?”
- McDonald’s Commercial 2017 Mindy Kahling Search It – YouTube
- Beverage Technician – YouTube
- A McDonald’s Ad That Never Mentions the Name McDonald’s – The New York Times
- What can marketers and tech firms learn from BK’s co-opting of Google Home? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will McDonald’s unbranded campaign prove successful in driving sales of Coke at the chain’s restaurants? Do you see more brands and retailers making greater use of unbranded campaigns as part of their advertising?