CAN YOU AFFORD TO BE BORING?

(originally posted this a year ago. popped into my head. still true!)

Just so we’re clear here. I am NOT picking on McDonalds or their agency here. I briefly worked on this iconic brand. Lovely people and a lovely headquarters in Oakbrook.

McDonalds is one of those brands with serious media muscle. They kind of have to.
McDs appeals potentially to everyone.

I love the Big and Tasty…mmm Big and Tasty.

Anyway!

The billboard below is situated across the street from The Escape Pod.

If you live in the USA you will have encountered this ad campaign. Take the “M” out of sentences and talk about breakfast is the idea.

And McDs have clearly poured 500 trillion dollars into this serious effort to win back breakfast eaters.

Is it the most earth-shattering creative idea in the world?

No. But it doesn’t have to be.

Because McDonalds can afford to be boring. And I don’t mean that in a bad way.

I just mean that their media budget ensures that I will see their message a lot.

So something benign and direct is actually appropriate here.

But what if you don’t have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on media?

You can’t afford to be boring.

3 responses to “CAN YOU AFFORD TO BE BORING?

  1. Well, I like this campaign, as it gets the job done. Nearly every other morning I do a double-take, and then realize I could really use a coffee.

    But. Your point about the size of the client is true for McD’s.

    And another but.

    Look at, say, Virgin Mobile. They’ve certainly got a large budget and have done some very weird, edgy stuff. I particularly remember, a few years ago, a six-page mock church program for Paygoism in Vice Magazine. In the end, my thought is that it’s not about money, but more about who you’re talking to, and what you’re selling.

    • Jaime, i wasn’t criticizing the McDs work. I was just making the point that it’s kind of academic how good their creative idea is. you’re going to see it one way or another by virtue of their huge media budget.

      and in case i wasn’t clear, i’m not suggesting that wacky and crazy is the automatic alternative.

      I think you have to think a lot harder about how you engineer everything about your communications. everything about you has to be more exciting and appealing when you don’t have a lot of money to spend.

  2. Oh, I see. Yes, that’s true. And no, I don’t think everyone should go all the way over to wacky, either. I guess I interpreted it as, big budget clients often play it safe to cast a wider net and grab the attention of more and varied groups of people, thus, “boring” work.

    Your last point is definitely spot on. I was helping a friend advertise his bar a while back, and it’s in a terrible location in our small neighborhood. We had to get really creative about how we spent his ad money. Very different approach from the large-scale budgets and clients that are the norm. So much more strategy is involved.

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