Two cents blog

There’s a clever creative solution for every brief, right? Wrong.

by BCM Group on 19 June 2018

Often when a tight proposition for a marketer is agreed with their agency there is an expectation that there is one really good creative answer to that brief.

The thinking is that if you explore enough creative territory you will end up with the best creative solution possible.

But the truth is that there are often many very good creative solutions to the one brief. Each has their merits. Each has their unique way of connecting with prospects.

And the recent McDonald’s brief to celebrate 50 years of the Big Mac is a great example.

This year, the iconic Big Mac turned 50, and to celebrate, McDonald’s challenged their global creative agencies by providing them all with the same creative brief. This has led to a bit of an international competition between the various global agencies as to who can come up with the best creative response. Agencies including Leo Burnett London, TBWA Spain, DPZ&T, DDB Sweden and DDB Sydney all took on the challenge and gave the anniversary their own spin. What this global challenge has shown, is that there really is no right or wrong way to interpret a brief, just different creative considerations that all end up with very different creative results.

In the Australian ad, which aired in early May, McDonald’s revisits the past five decades, which is set to the nostalgic sounds of Starship’s We Built This City. But did this particular take miss the mark? The bold type depicting the years make the whole ad feel a little forced by trying to make a connection between the Big Mac and its part in history. Perhaps a subtler approach would have been more effective.


Everyone knows that the Big Mac’s trusty sidekick is coke, and Brazil’s creative agency DPZ&T created something quite different. In a clever correlation in which they leveraged their partnership with Coca-cola, they created a limited edition coke can, the ‘Big Mac can’.


The UK’s ad by Leo Burnett takes on a similar approach to the Australian version which sees Londoners celebrating the Big Mac from the 1970s to now, questioning those who have never tried a Big Mac. Whilst the ad depicts how the Big Mac has not changed throughout the years, it lacks some of the charm of other overseas spots. It gives the consumer no real reason to care about why the Big Mac is turning 50.


Creative agency NORD DDB, Copenhagen take us on a journey in which they cleverly show the emotional connection between a certain life moment and food. Sweden’s take on the brief shows different life moments where you just need a burger, and a Big Mac really hits the spot.


TBWA Spain sees the Big Mac of the future with its 50-year birthday campaign going futuristic. In this ad, TBWA Spain shows how even in the future, the Big Mac will remain the same. What was surprising about this ad was despite the small logo in the bottom right-hand corner, the agency decided not to show a single product until the very end frame.


Portugal’s addition to the global challenge sees McDonald’s play a practical joke on its customers. FullSix Portugal created an ad where it turned an entire McDonald’s store (staff included) into black and white. Whilst the black and white is a different take and not something you normally see, it didn’t quite hit the mark for celebrating a milestone and making consumers connect and care about the Big Mac turning 50.


In what is my favourite take on the Big Mac’s 50th birthday global challenge, TBWA Belgium craft a clever ad that depicts the “unchanged’ nature of their Big Mac burger and how it has remained the same over the past 50 years. The ad goes to cleverly explain how we as people all have our quirks and have things that we don’t like to change. Belgium has made clever use of this insight to connect our own lives with the unchanging Big Mac.


So, what this tells us is that there are few absolutes in our creative industry. There often isn’t a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer. And very often research won’t enlighten the discussion. Sometimes it’s a case of marketers drawing on their experience, leveraging their understanding of the industry and using their instinct to make a ‘creative call’. And they should trust their agency. After all, there might be several ways to solve that creative task – and they might all be right.

Carly Edwards is an Account Manager at BCM

- d. on June 27

I like the Belgium one best too. It's interesting that, despite the big client and the big name agencies, most of this stuff is uninspired, derivative meh.

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