McDonald’s goes back to the farm

The QSR talks to young ranchers to show that supporting Canadian farmers and sustainable food sourcing are one and the same.
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McDonald’s Canada is returning to talking about beef sustainability in its latest campaign, during a time where the importance placed on the environment and buying local arguably has never been higher.

In a 60-second spot, created by Cossette, the QSR shows “the future” of Canadian sustainable beef ranching by speaking to young cattle farmers in southern Alberta. The spot shows not only the acres of farmland they tend – and that their previous generations of family members tended to – but also the animals they take care of, both of which they treat with respect. The spot ends by highlighting the Quarter Pounder, which is sourced from farms and ranches certified by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.

The campaign aims to develop a stronger connection between the beef McDonald’s consumers eat and the people who produce it. That has a double benefit for McDonald’s – by answering the strong consumer interest in responsible food sourcing, it also reinforces how the QSR will help Canadian farmers keep doing what they do for generations to come.

“Canadians care about sustainability but it’s such a broad concept. We wanted to create a platform that zeroed in on the legacy-building impact of McDonald’s commitment [to beef sustainability],” says Alexandre Gadoua, group creative director for McDonald’s at Cossette. “Passing the mic to the next generation of Canadian beef ranchers added an extra layer of magic – the kids had an infectious energy on set and are truly dedicated to what they do.”

According to McDonald’s, it has used 100% Canadian beef since 2003 and is a founding member of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB), a collaborative group that aims to improve the sustainability of beef production in Canada.

Jean-Gullaume Bertola, director of national marketing at McDonald’s Canada, says this campaign builds on the brand’s previous campaigns around farming, which highlighted Canadian beef, chicken and egg farmers that supplied its restaurants. Now is a good time to return to that message: a science director at the Beef Cattle Research Council noted how producing the same pound of beef per day takes 17% less water than it did 30 years ago and produces 15% less greenhouse gas.

While there was concern that the realities of the pandemic would force progress on the sustainability front to take a back seat, consumers have kept environmental concerns tops of mind. According to a November IBM survey, 66% of young Canadians noted that they’re actually more worried about the environment than they were pre-pandemic.

The media buy was handled by OMD. The TV spot is airing nationally, supported by digital, social, influencer and sponsored content.