A group of four young people standing outside a fruit and vegetable shop

New McDonald’s ad highlights its place among young adults

The brand has launched a campaign geared explicitly towards 16 to 24-year-olds that positions it as a space for young people to call their own

McDonald’s has a track record of elliptical ad campaigns that rely on the power and ubiquity of its branding, from its golden arches to the products themselves.

The brand’s latest campaign by Leo Burnett UK follows suit, this time focusing on its name. The ad at the heart of the campaign doesn’t directly mention McDonald’s, nor does it show any of its restaurants or food. Instead, we hear all the ways young people nickname it, nodding to the campaign message, Make It Yours.

The new campaign highlights McDonald’s as somewhere young people can turn to and make their own – a timely approach in light of the dwindling funding for youth spaces, and with leaving home or going to uni being a luxury many can’t afford.

The resulting campaign film is down to earth yet celebratory, with a coming-of-age vibe that feels in keeping with JD Sports’ triumphant seasonal film released last year.

Vertical outdoor advertisement featuring different nicknames for McDonald's in contrasting lettering styles

It’s apparently the first McDonald’s campaign geared explicitly towards 16 to 24-year-olds. To help get it right, Leo Burnett consulted people from that age group through workshops organised with youth network We Rise, and through research in partnership with the Diversity Standards Collective.

The campaign also includes digital stickers and OOH executions that showcase some of the many nicknames for McDonald’s.

Row of three smartphones showing McDonald's social media content starring groups of young people, with different McDonald's graphics dotted around it

Agency: Leo Burnett UK
CCO: Mark Elwood
ECDs: Andrew Long, James Millers
Creatives: Jas Nandoo, Georgette Fischer
Creative Director (Design): Dave Allen
Designer: Danny Flint
Production Company: Iconoclast
Edit House: Trim
VFX: Black Kite Studios
Audio Post-Production: Factory
Music Supervision: Sharpa