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McDonald’s Flexes its Manly Marketing Muscles

Filed under Advertising, Global Burgers, Marketing, QSR Burgers

httpv://’s strikes something close to Old Spice’s wry “New Manliness” pose in TV spots in Australia promoting the chain’s iconic Big Mac and Quarter Pounder burgers.

Voiceover copy for one 30-second spot, from DDB Sydney, is “The Quarter Pounder. Cheese. Beef. Cheese. Bun. Hand. But only one hand. In case you need to open a door. Or a jar. Build something. Fix something. Check something. Weld! Landscape. Manscape. Romance. Or just point. Because you’ll look like more of a man with a Quarter Pounder in your hand.”

There’s an obvious nod here to the mock-macho mugging of good-smelling hunk Isaiah Mustafa in Wieden + Kennedy’s wildly popular “Smell like a man, man” campaign for Old Spice. “Hello ladies. Look at your man. Now back at me. Now back at your man. Now back to me. Sadly, he isn’t me,” Mustafa deadpans in one of the first spots in the series.

Interestingly, both these campaigns were developed to spotlight classic products. Old Spice was a tired brand that had jumped the shark years ago, but W+K’s campaign has made it hip again. 

The McDonald’s brand, however, is doing quite nicely in Australia and everywhere else, thank you. So well, in fact, that it can devote a chunk of marketing money to tongue-in-cheek commercials promoting products that aren’t even new. The “More of a man” commercials are part of a “Here’s to the Classics” campaign that extols the Big Mac and the Quarter Pounder. The Big Mac was rolled out in 1967 when guys like “Mad Men’s” Don Draper defined manliness. Now burgers must do it for us.

McDonald's Chicken Carbonara

McDonald’s salute to its classic burgers comes as chains wear themselves out dreaming up ever-more fanciful and often outlandish burgers. Consider Burger King’s nachos-topped Whopper , Red Robin’s Mt. Olympus Burger or Fuddruckers’ wild boar burger. McDonald’s, too, is occasionally guilty of overreaching with menu items. In Japan now, the Golden Arches features a series of “Icon Chicken” sandwiches that deconstruct popular European pasta dishes. Yes, I said that. The Carbonara Chicken sandwich brings together a chicken breast, cheese sauce, black pepper, scrambled eggs, bacon and mozzarella on a bun. There also are Cheese Fondue, German Sausage and Chicken Diavolo sandwiches.

Now look at your menu. Now back to McDonald’s.