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Brief Published: 5 Aug 2013

McDonald’s Brand-Free Ad Campaign


The latest ad campaign for US fast-food giant McDonald’s has one notable omission: its name. With no discernible branding or famous ‘golden arches’ logo, each advert consists of only a single close-up colour photograph of a McDonald’s ‘hero’ product, and just a hint of packaging.

Created by advertising agency TBWA\Paris specifically for the French market, the campaign trades on the idea that McDonald’s most popular products – a cheeseburger, French fries, chicken nuggets and an ice-cream sundae – are instantly recognisable, reinforcing their status as icons within the marketplace.

The advert is another example of the new mood of logo restraint and streamlined retail branding explored in Quiet Branding.

A trio of commercials are running alongside the print campaign on French television. Created by high-profile Belgian director Xavier Mairesse, the TV spots have no dialogue to deliver their message. ‘Dentist’ depicts a patient repeatedly opening and closing his mouth as he watches McDonald's fries rotating on a billboard outside. In ‘Yoga’ a class chant "Ommmmmm" as they ogle a McNuggets newspaper spread. And in ‘Interview’, women smear their lipstick by licking their lips after seeing the image of a McDonald's sundae in a magazine.

For more examples of how subtler branding is creeping into both packaging and advertising, see Selfridges’ Logo-Free Project and Nivea’s Pared-Down Packaging.