Iowa Writer’s Workshop Grad Deconstructs McDonald’s TV

It’s been a long while since I clicked by Cup of Chicha, a site I used to frequent. I certainly did not expect to find advertising criticism. But I did.
Here it is:

With “The Pinky,” my name for McDonalds’ latest TV ad campaign, advertising’s fascination with the hipster lifestyle comes to its final vulgar climax. Co-opting youth culture’s propensity for sign language (e.g., the finger-figurations for signing peace, west-side, hang-ten, etc.), the campaign introduces viewers to a world where pretty twenty-somethings sashay down streets wagging pinkies at each other, inviting fellow in-the-know model-types to join them at McDonalds.
The campaign, one presumes, is aiming to depict McDonalds’ newest offerings as simultaneously up-market (hence, the effete pinky) and affordable (hence, the street-credified — albeit imaginarily so — hand gesture). In that sense, the pinky functions like marketing’s beloved hipster: well-educated and artistically-inclined but also shaggy and of-the-people. Fortunately, the diminutive pinky can’t bear so much symbolic weight, and McDonalds’ idea of a slogan-ified finger only comes across as laughably — and proportionately— short-sighted.

I love it when intellectuals tackle ad problems. Seriously.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.