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The McDonald’s chalkboard campaign is fresh PR thinking

13th May 2013


One of the pains of this column is that it is video-based.

So, while the last couple of weeks or so have thrown up a crop of lovely PR stories, including Ladbrokes’ spoof Royal baby photos and Yesterday’s portrait makeovers, I had to look elsewhere to find the subject of this week’s post.

So it’s to the US that we head this week, for a McDonald’s campaign I stumbled across that piqued my creative interest and raised a smile of creative acknowledgement:

It’s just a really simple idea – which, like great creative insights, is obvious when you see it – but it also took a leap of lateral thinking to make.

For those who can’t be bothered to watch the film (fast forward to 30 seconds or so to get the gist), it's that McDonald’s changes its menu twice a day, every day. So they created a chalkboard billboard and got an artist to draw a different image twice a day for a week.

What I took away from this piece of work was the reminder that when you’re hunting for ideas, it often works to look at what competitors or others in a category are doing – and doing well – and then think about how those behaviours can be applied to the problem you’re trying to solve.

The really simple (when someone else has had it) creative thought is that restaurants that serve fresh food have chalkboards that they write on daily. Take that, apply it to McDonald’s and give it an unexpected twist and you’ve got your campaign.

Neat, straightforward, bang-on message-wise.

Which is why it’s my idea of the week.

James Gordon-MacIntosh is founder and Managing Partner at Hope&Glory PR



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