The power of emotion: McDonald’s and their 2020 Christmas ad

The power of emotion: McDonald’s and their 2020 Christmas ad.
Matthew Hayes.

Matthew Hayes Managing Director

December 22nd, 2020

Typically, when we think of Christmas ads, the first ones that come to mind are John Lewis and Partners and Coca Cola, so it came as a shock to many that we were all brought to tears by fast-food chain McDonald’s.

The festive ad, titled Inner Child is an animated tale following the journey of a mother and her teenage son. Pulling on the heart strings on the entire nation, we all watched on as the mother desperately tried to encourage her son to take part in their festive family traditions.

This ad touched so many for numerous reasons, which is why it has been a great success.

Emotion is key

When it comes to marketing campaigns, emotion is key all year round, but even more so during the Christmas period. Many consumers feel heightened sentiments during this time and are often found reflecting on the year they are about to leave behind. And being able to create an emotional bond or connection with consumers is pivotal to a successful campaign.

The McDonald’s Christmas ad focuses on the relationship between a single mother and her teenage son. The relationship between teens and parents can often be a strenuous one, without any additional factors such as being a single parent.

Not only that, but teens are transitioning from children into young adults and it’s a difficult time for them, too. They are constantly finding themselves torn between still wanting to behave and act like a young child again and wanting to grow up as quickly as possible.

And the very same transition is also hard on their parents, watching their children grow up, potentially no longer interested in family traditions or spending quality time together, as seen in the ad.

Music also plays a key part in emotion and the song that is used throughout this ad, is no exception. Forever Young, sang by Becky Hill helps tell the story beautifully, adding to the level of emotion.

The relatability factor

Whether you’re a parent, a teen or somewhere in between, this ad resonates with everybody. And being able to relate to a campaign, is what makes it so successful.

Single parents up and down the country will be able to relate to this story, as will every other parent trying to convince their teenage children to get into the festive spirit. With many teens of the current generation too invested in video games and technology, it’s a feeling that many families will be all too familiar with.

Young adults will watch on and wonder if they acted similarly as a teen, making them appreciate the care and thought that went into their childhood. And parents will watch and relive fond memories of their children as youngsters at Christmas.

Coming together

The difference between this ad, and many others, is the level of product placement throughout. This campaign in particular, doesn’t mention the product or the brand until the ad is almost over when the mother and her son come together over a trip to the McDonald’s drive thru.

McDonald’s were able to create a raw and real connection between the story, the campaign and the consumer without permanently placing the product at the heart of it.

This ad demonstrates that McDonald’s cares far more about its consumers than we may think, aiming to bring people together over their love of food as opposed to pushing for sales.

This campaign was different to any other Christmas ad that we’ve seen in 2020. It captured everybody that watched, no matter their background or situation and utilised the power of emotion in a plethora of ways.

Everybody wants to be forever young, especially at Christmas and McDonald’s told that tale impeccably well.

If you've not seen it yet, take a look and let us know your thoughts!

To discover more about how the power of emotion can help your brand’s marketing campaigns, get in touch with our team of experts today.

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