Two McDonald’s campaigns tap into returning freedoms

The QSR is celebrating the things Canadians missed, be it traveling or getting to hang out with a fry thief.


McDonald’s Canada is spending this summer welcoming back things its customers have missed out on over the last year, including spending time with friends who swipe your food.

When it comes to thieving characters with a taste for McDonald’s, the Hamburglar is usually who comes to mind. But a new national campaign is centred around a character many will find just as recognizable from their own lives: the fry thief.

In the new spot, a man is seen musically pining for a friend who routinely steals his fries, deliberately tapping into the sense of relief that many Canadians are feeling now that lockdown measures are being dialled back, allowing them to gather with friends and family.

“As we are coming out of the pandemic, we can do something now that is more interesting, lighthearted and heartfelt and will put a smile on peoples’ faces,” says Alexandre Gadoua, national group CD for McDonald’s at Cossette. “Playing around with the idea of the fry thief and using it as an analogy for friendship and missing your friend was the perfect idea.”

He adds that because McDonald’s Canada is an iconic brand “they have permission to go out and carry this message.”

“Right now, it’s not a stepping stone to a bigger plan. It isn’t part of a big calendar event, and there’s no second part to it – it was just something that came from a very loose brief,” he explains.

However, that could change. Cossette’s social media listening has seen an “overly positive” response to the ad and Gadoua says the agency is tempted to take a second look. It wouldn’t be the first time McDonald’s Canada went back to some well-received characters, having used its “debaters” in campaigns for special edition Big Macs and two young employees in recruitment campaigns.

The campaign will run until Aug. 29, with 30- and 60-second TV spots, OLV and social. Media buying as handled by OMD, while Weber Shandwick handled PR.

The fry thief spot isn’t the only work Cossette has done for McDonald’s Canada that taps into the new possibilities people are returning to this summer.

In Quebec, the QSR chain launched a print, online and OOH campaign designed to appeal to Canadians celebrating the return of one of their other favourite things: cross-country travel.

AdironMac_Frite_1080x1080 (1)Launched to coincide with one Quebec’s busiest travel seasons, the campaign features images of Adirondack chairs painted to reflect various recognizable McDonald’s menu items – including its fries and coffee cup – set against backdrops of some of the country’s most scenic views.

The campaign “is our way of highlighting our national presence and reminding Canadians that they can count on us to be there on the road to their vacation destination,” said Melissa Hains, McDonald’s Canada’s Quebec marketing manager.