McDonalds released a new television commercial earlier recently, and much to everyone’s surprise, it doesn’t mention the name of the fast food chain once. This is just the latest example of brands taking a drastically smarter and more subtle approach to advertising. In this blog we’ll explore some of the reasons for the new trend, and why your brand should be keeping it smart when using video.

 

This isn’t a wild new direction for McDonalds. Other multinational brands are accustomed to large, broad marketing campaigns designed to shout the name at the top of their voice, are struggling against a new found move away from in-your-face advertising. In the last few years, in a bit to appeal to younger audiences, online and television commercials have worked to become smarter, more honest and less intrusive.

“I think it’s subtle and appears to be aimed at younger generations,” Darren Tristano, president of food industry marketer Technomic. “I think they also want to showcase the fact that McDonald’s is online… it’s a nice gimmick and a strong testimonial from a celebrity…but it does represent a classy shift to a more focused advertising model.”

McDonalds has a history of using video advertising remarkably well, especially for attracting the much-desired 18-24 demographic. Food rarely plays a main part in the adverts, instead choosing to focus on the themes and values of the brand. You can see this in another recent commercial below, which follows a couple on their first date.

 

While you can probably guess the twist, it still manages to be surprisingly sweet. While this story could be grounds for a bunch of cliched faux pas, here it’s more subtle and sensitively made.

In short, the brand is trying to humanise itself.

When companies get as large as McDonalds they begin to have the appearance of being cut off or in their own world. This wasn’t a problem 10-15 years ago, but nowadays the general public seems to want more individual, personal brands. People are buying from local grocers rather than supermarkets. Local coffee shops rather than coffee chains. This has got the large brands slightly worried, and they are addressing it through their advertising.

Just look at the below, released only a few weeks ago.

 

Sure, there’s plenty of comedy here. They’re poking fun at the competition. Yet at it’s core the story is aiming to be relatable and discreet. They haven’t used a hard sell or a forceful voiceover.

If you’re wondering how this could apply to a smaller business, keep reading. This is a chance to get ahead. This trend is growing, and a consumer survey recently stated half of consumers say they trust small companies to do the right thing (49 percent), while big businesses (36 percent) are much less likely to be trusted. 

Appearing honest, ethical and authentic is more important now than ever.