McDonald’s celebrates ‘The Alternative Christmas List’
Created by Leo Burnett, the campaign is directed by Tom Hooper - the Academy award-winning The King's Speech director
10 November 2022
McDonald’s is changing the meaning of ‘Christmas lists’ this year as it launches The Alternative Christmas List, a campaign anchored around a mobile experience accessed through the McDonald’s App, led by Leo Burnett UK.
The campaign gives new meaning to the festive symbol of a Christmas list. Instead of being about material objects, McDonald’s Alternative Christmas List is instead made up of a series of experiences each curated to bring families together to enjoy small but meaningful moments of magic.
At the centre of the campaign is the Alternative Christmas List mobile experience. Launching on 14th November, the Alternative Christmas List invites fans to enjoy six unique experiences, released weekly in the build up to Christmas. Every experience on The Alternative Christmas List has been created to enhance a shared family moment, and the experiences will include things like McDonald’s festive PJs and Jumpers for the ultimate night in on Christmas Eve, a touring festive photobooth and McDelivery Christmas carollers and a festive audio book for those families driving home for Christmas.
To launch the campaign and raise awareness of the alternative Christmas list, McDonald’s has created a 90 second film directed by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper, known for critically acclaimed hits like The King’s Speech and Les Miserables.
The film tells the story of a little boy named Alfie, who gets carried away with the excitement of writing a Christmas List, before realising that it’s the little shared moments that really matter. The film sets up the idea of the importance of family time over the materialistic aspect of Christmas, reminding the UK what’s important during the festive season.
Opening on Alfie and his mum looking over the balcony of their flat at neighbours riding a red bike, she encourages him to write a Christmas list for Father Christmas. As the boy crafts and builds his list, he becomes more and more carried away with the craft and excitement of it. The list grows and grows: multiplying in length each time we see it. Alfie and his parents are Christmas shopping at their local high street when he asks, ‘How do you send this to Father Christmas?’. The pages begin to take flight, riding a gust of wind into the sky. The boy and parents chase the list through the town centre, but the list flies into the distance. The upset boy is embraced by his parents: mum spots a McDonald’s in the distance and they head in to cheer him up. Mum asks ‘What was on your list anyway?’. Alfie smoothens out a scrunched up page of the list, which he managed to keep as it flew away: the most important page of them all, it shows a drawing of mum, dad and son.
The ad, created by Leo Burnett, will launch in cinema’s alongside Black Panther’s ‘Wakanda Forever’ and on TV on 13th November during ITV’s ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!’. The soundtrack, recorded by Becky Hill, is an enchanting, festive rendition of Yazoo’s iconic track, ‘Only You’.
Now in its sixth year, #ReindeerReady is a creative platform that has grown year on year and has helped McDonald’s find its place amongst the Christmas festivities. #ReindeerReady is all about shared traditions and rituals, this year’s iteration celebrates family time - more important this year than ever before after a challenging few years.
The Red Consultancy has led activations, experiential and PR, OMD has handled all media planning and buying, CRM by Armadillo and Linney - all point of purchase activity and competitions by TMS.
A festive food campaign will underline the campaign, bringing back the Big Tasty, Festive Pie, Cheese Melt Dippers, Celebrations McFlurry, Hot Chocolate Deluxe, as well as new McCafé product, the Caramel Waffle Latte.
Michelle Graham-Clare, senior vice president, chief marketing officer at McDonald’s UK & Ireland, said: “We know this Christmas isn’t going to be a normal one for many families across the UK and Ireland, so it’s more important than ever that we’re there to support our customers in their preparations to get Reindeer Ready.
“We’re proud to launch The Alternative Christmas List, which will provide many families across the UK with free, fun activities in the lead-up to the big day, but to also be supporting our charity partner BBC Children in Need with much-needed funds at a time when they need it most.”
Chaka Sobhani, chief creative officer at Leo Burnett UK and Global, said: “We can all get a bit carried away by the excitement of Christmas, but we all know it’s those small moments with loved ones that matter the most. We hope the Alternative Christmas List taps into that, particularly in such a difficult year, and gets people up and down the country proper reindeer ready.”
CAMPAIGN TITLE: The Alternative Christmas List
CLIENT: McDonald’s UK
ADVERTISING AGENCY: Leo Burnett UK
CCO: Chaka Sobhani
EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Mark Elwood
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: James Millers & Andrew Long
SENIOR CREATIVE: Joe Miller
CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF DESIGN: David Allen
SENIOR DESIGNER: Rupert Knowlden
DESIGNER: Jakk Breedon
HEAD OF PLANNING: Tom Sussman
STRATEGY DIRECTOR: Hamish Cameron
SENIOR STRATEGIST: Roxy Windisch
BUSINESS LEAD: Steph Bates
ACCOUNT DIRECTOR: Jack Brenman
SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER: Nicola Kuan
ACCOUNT MANAGER: Florence Potter
PROJECT DIRECTOR: Siobhan Mulcahy
TV PRODUCER: Graeme Light
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Smuggler
DIRECTOR: Tom Hooper
EDITOR: Russell Icke
PRODUCER: Ella Sedgwick
POST-PRODUCTION COMPANY: Framestore
AUDIO POST-PRODUCTION COMPANY: 750MPH
McDonald’s Brand Team:
Chief Marketing Officer, S.V.P: Michelle Graham-Clare
Director of Marketing & Media Steve Howells
Head of Marketing: Hannah Pain
Head of Consumer Communications & Partnerships: Louise Page
Brand Manager: Amber Myers
Assistant Brand Manager: Emma Pellegrinelli
Campaign Assistant: Callum Seviour
Marketing Placement: Rian Wilson
PR Manager: Melodie Richards
MEDIA AGENCY: OMD
PR AGENCY: RED CONSULTANCY
SOCIAL AGENCY: OLIVER
CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT AGENCY: The Marketing Store
VFX Supervisor: Ross Wilkinson
2D Supervisors: Matt Thomas and Ollie Bersey
CG Supervisor: Henrique Campanha
Senior Producer: Alexia Paterson
VFX Production Coordinator: Poppy Chadwick
Production Assistant: Conor Garnett
Flame: Darran Nicholson and Aadel Matoorianpour
Colourist: Steffan Perry, Company 3