By now anyone reading this must have seen the new The McDonalds Olympics ad. If you’ve watched TV, read a newspaper or have taken public transport in the past week you’ll know the one I mean. It’s just like their ‘just stopping by’ one from last year, but with people enjoying the Olympics instead of eating fatty fast food. It’s the latest in ‘Lifestylvertising’, an expression I just made up for all these godawful adverts we get these days that just show us normal people doing ‘things’, in the hope that we find their insight so astoundingly astute and personable that we think fondly of the brand that paid for it. Supposed wry observations on life by gas companies, banks, mobile phone companies and basically any organisation where the reality of their actual produce would be a tough sell.
McDonalds is currently top of the list of many Olympic sponsors Londoners are angry with. Obviously, people are against them from a health perspective due to McDonald’s ruthless advertising of chips literally counter-acting the chances of any Britons winning any medals, and are campaigning for some kind of boycott. Meanwhile, so fastidious is the Olympic Delivery Authority that they intend to have ‘brand officers’ marching the streets of London making sure pubs don’t allow five glasses to be arranged in the shape of the Olympic rings. Just last week there was outrage that McDonalds apparently has a monopoly on chips. According to LOCOGs guidelines, you can’t even link to their site if it’s not to say something positive. The bastards.
So associating chips and eyelids with running really fast is quite the challenge for an advertising agency, who instead choose to ignore the McNuggets, McFlurries or even any of their restaurants and try to just hose us down with sugary Olympic joy. The end result is the kind of advertising so transparent in its intention, when I see it I can’t see anything but the mechanics by which it was created. I don’t see a recognisable young mother cheering someone on with toddlers on her lap or a group of colleagues following the event during lunch, I see the whirring cogs of advertising executives sitting about brainstorming a way of polishing a meaty turd with Olympic lacquer.
So this is my voice-over script for the advertising agency brainstorm session. You’ll have to imagine the background music, which will be a slowed-down acoustic cover of ‘You’re the best around’ from the end of Karate Kid by that chap who sang ‘Girl on the Platform’ for Match.com.
The Double-Cheek Kisser, The Compliment Fisher,
Doubter, Shouter, Folk Music Cover-Version Scouter,
Diversity Advisor, Account Handler Miser,
The Social Media Aggregator, Client Ego Masturbator,
The Preener, The Over-Keen-er, The ‘Let’s Just Make Their Logo ‘Green-er’,
The ‘Worked There As a Student Frier’, Media Buyer, “If People Ate Only This Food Wouldn’t They Die?”-er,
The ‘We Need To Think About The End User’, The Awards Do Last Night Substance-Abuser,
The ‘Still Off Their Tits’, Strategists, The ‘Hey, They Sell Salads Too!’ Apologists,
The Intern Who Thinks Everything Is ‘Awesome’-er, The Brand Exclusion Zone Enforcer,
The ‘I’m Sure They Have A Healthy Options Menu’ , The Social Media Guru,
The Brainstorm Lunch Platter Hoggers, Official Bloggers, Creative Idea Dead-Horse Floggers,
Coffee-break Defectors, HD Digital Projectors, “I’ll Make It All Slow-mo And Soft-Focus” Art Directors,
And for The Neurotics, the Pat-On-The-Back Trophies for their long cab journeys home.