McDonald’s Beacon of French Fries

Here’s a case of taking the same visual concept and using it to communicate two different marketing messages. This “night light” print ad, created by Cossette West in Canada, promotes the fact that McDonald’s is now open all night, 24/7.

It builds on a visual idea, conceived by Leo Burnett USA, for an outdoor marketing campaign touting McDonald’s as having the “Best Fries on the Planet.” Visible from three miles around, the billboard shot vertical beams of golden light up from a super-sized French-fry packet, illuminating the night skies of Chicago. Although this spectacular “tribute to fries” garnered lots of accolades for its ingenuity, the outdoor light show was also called insensitive for what some considered an uncanny resemblance to the Twin Tower “Tribute in Light” commemoration of the 9/11 tragedy. We don’t think so. For one thing, the billboard – which came down last week – was only shown in Chicago near the company’s headquarters. Also, the red box of fries is so iconic that viewers immediately associate it with the fast-food giant and chuckle. Don’t know whether this marketing concept will be extended beyond print ads and billboards, but maybe it should be turned into a promotional giveaway of a real “french fry” night light.