McDonald’s Effort Leaves Celebs Speechless But With A Lot On Their Mind
Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 09:16AM
NYSportsJournalism.com in Ac Campaigns, Gabrielle Union, John Goodman, McDonalds. Charles Barkley, ad campaign

By Barry Janoff

May 6, 2018: Wendy’s has been calling out rival McDonald’s in a campaign for serving “flash-frozen beef,” through a series of commercials that convey the message via text rather than spoken word.

McDonald’s response in part is a new effort, “Speechless Thoughts,” in which such celebrities as Charles Barkley, Gabrielle Union and John Goodman are seen enjoying Quarter Pounders and expressing their joy not by words (other than “Mmm-mmm”) but by inner thoughts that are conveyed on the screen via text.

The campaign supports a strategy that McDonald’s refers to as its “cooked-right-when-ordered Quarter Pound Burgers using fresh beef in thousands of our restaurants.”

Barkley, Union and Goodman are each seen in a McDonald’s restaurant, gleefully chowing down a Quarter Pounder (some with cheese). Each 30-second spot is devoid of speech, but there are plenty of inner feelings that come across via subtitles.

On YouTube, McDonald’s explains to visitors in text below the video screen, “Introducing McDonald’s new 100% fresh beef Quarter Pounder burgers. They’re so good, they’ll leave people speechless. Like Gabrielle Union here. Want to find out what she’s thinking? Hint: Make sure Closed Captioning is turned on.”

A separate series of spots show each of the celebs interacting with McDonald’s customers, speaking for them when the Quarter Pounder leaves them speechless.

A Hispanic platform stars Luis Fonsi a Puerto Rican singer and songwriter best known for his 2017 worldwide hit song "Despacito," who speaks for customers in McDonald's left speechless because they are enjoying a Quarter Pounder.

"La Nueva Quarter Pounder con carne fresca ha dejado a Maria sin palabras. Por eso Luis Fonsi va a hablar por ella." ("The new Quarter Pounder with fresh meat has left Maria speechless. That's why Luis Fonsi is going to speak for her.")

The push comes on the heels of McDonald’s 2018 Q1 financial report, which showed same-store sales in the U.S. rose 2.9% (topping analyst expectations), with president and CEO Steve Easterbrook stating, “More customers are recognizing that we are becoming a better McDonald's, appreciating our great tasting food, fast and friendly service and compelling value.”


In his spot, Barkley, the NBA Hall of Famer and NBA on TNT commentator (and admitted long-time McDonald’s consumer), thinks as he eats, “Man, McDonald’s new hotter, juicer Quarter Pounder is so good, I’m speechless.

“But man, I’ve got a lot to say. they cooked this burger right when I ordered it. 100% beef fresh beef like that deserves another bite. That’s the stuff. Thank you, McDonald’s for this delicious flavor parade.”

Actress, author and social activist Union (wife of NBA star Dwyane Wade), thinks in her commercial, “This new hotter, juicier Quarter Pounder has me speechless. But my taste buds have got me thinking, McDonald’s knows just what I like, with that cooked-right-when-I-order hotness.

“But hotter isn’t everything. You know what is, though? Hotter and juicier. And 100% fresh beef. That’s worth 100% of my love. And this melty cheese is burger nirvana. I literally can’t even have just one bite.”

Goodman, currently starring in the Roseanne reboot, munches and thinks, “McDonald’s new hotter and juicer Quarter Pounder has me speechless. So here’s what I’m thinking. 100% fresh beef? 100% heck yes!

"It’s like a ‘flavor suplex’ in my mouth. The melty cheese is giving me goosebumps. Or are they cheese bumps?”

Each ends with the text, “The new 100% Fresh Beef Quarter Pounder Burgers.”

Lead agency is DDB’s We Are Unlimited, Chicago.

Barkley did some McDonald’s spots in the mid-1990s, including with Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Reggie Miller — along with such animated Looney Tune characters as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck — to coincide with the release of Space Jam (1996).

McDonald’s said that since the start of the year, they have “modernized and improved hospitality in nearly 1,000 restaurants, setting the pace to bring the 'Experience of the Future' to an additional 1,000 restaurants every quarter this year. “

“We’ve transitioned the entire market to a new value platform, offering our customers greater choice and variety,” Easterbrook said during the Q1 analyst and media conference call.

“We are managing our business for the long-term and with our Velocity Growth Plan, I am confident that our strategy and actions we’re taking will position the business for sustained growth,” said Easterbrook.”

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