Perhaps the pinnacle of branding success is when a logo isn't necessary anymore. The latest eyebrow-raising McDonald's advert proves again that the fastfood brand is one of those cases.
The fast-food brand has realised that we all carry the McDonald's logo with us everywhere - on our faces. We already saw it inviting us to 'raise our arches' earlier in the year, and it's taking advantage of its discovery again in a traffic-stopping new spot that's brilliantly contagious (see our pick of the best branding books for more inspiration).
The new McDonald's advert shows motorists stuck at traffic lights on the road to their summer getaways. But nobody minds the hold up. There's a McDonald's up ahead – a fact drivers begin to communicate to each other by raising their eyebrows – a reference to McDonald's famous golden arches in its logo.
The work of Michael Gracey, director of the Greatest Showman, with Leo Burnett London, the piece is a follow-up to the Edgar Wright-directed Raise Your Arches campaign that we saw at the start of the year. That first ad introduced the concept in a slightly more explicit way, with an office employee also sketching the McDonald's logo on a sticky note to make sure we understood the reference.
This time around such signposting isn't necessary, at least for those that saw the original ad. For those who didn't, the colours of the van that appears early on and the context of people looking ahead, presumably seeing a sign for a service station, could be enough to make it clear what's happening. Despite different high-profile directors, the two pieces are also linked by the same soundtrack – the 1985 hit Oh Year by Yello. In this case, the colour grading adds to the retro vibe.
This is an example of a brand trying to create a kind of code among fans that could actually catch on. While I find it hard to imagine people taking up Fanta's suggestion that we should call snacking with a Fanta 'fnacking', raising one's eyebrows as a shorthand for 'Shall we go to McD's?' is something that many people will totally do, partly because the physicality of it makes it almost unavoidably contagious (this could be an addition to our roundup of the best McDonald's adverts).
Don't be surprised if you see people raising their eyebrows at you from their cars on the road soon. No, they're not giving you the eye; it's a Big Mac they're interested in.