McDonald’s turned some heads recently with the release of its “Signs” commercial. In just one minute, this emotional piece of sadvertising engages viewers with hints of tragedy, triumph, and human connectivity—all set to the moving musical ballad “Carry On,” sung by a choir of young people.
At the end, viewers are encouraged to visit mcdonalds.tumblr.com to “See the stories behind the signs.” This call to action extends the commercial’s depth by encouraging viewers to get even more connected to the cities, people, and events highlighted in the commercial. It extends the commercial’s reach onto social media (and, really, to infinity and beyond) by posting the stories on tumblr, where they are instantly shareable. Visitors to the tumblr site are rewarded with three additional commercials, each with a different theme.
Where’s the Beef?
It’s worth noting that there is no mention of food whatsoever in any of the commercials. These spots focus on the human side of Mc Donald’s at a very specific, local level.
McDonald’s has been in the news a lot lately—for both “pink slime” allegations and the low wages of its workers. This storytelling strategy aims to combat these negative perceptions by portraying McDonald’s as a bunch of local owners who care for their communities, not a soulless corporation out for profits.
A Mixed Bag
The campaign was met with mixed reviews. Critics doubted its sincerity. Other viewers were moved by the gesture that, while uncharacteristic of previous McDonald’s branding, seemed authentic and inspiring. The T.V. spot certainly serves as an excellent example of how a company can put storytelling to work toward achieving a specific outcome. In McDonald’s case it might be a positive public perception. For your organization it might attracting new members, inspiring existing members, or influencing more lives.
How might you emphasize the human side of your organization? Harness the power of storytelling to engage and inspire your membership and achieve your goals.
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