Here Are All the Reasons We Like McDonald's Latest Ad, 'Books'

The comforting side of being adrift

It may well be that "Books," the latest McDonald's ad to come out of TBWA\Paris, is the loveliest one for the brand they've made yet. (And they've made a few.)

The piece begins with a little girl on a bed, floating down a wide, misty river. Her mother swims over to join her, and they embark on a winding adventure.

McDonald's | Books

Directed by Reynald Gresset and produced by La Pac, "Books" ends when the bed finds its home against a bedroom wall, where reality returns and we discover this was all a bedtime story. The mother tucks the book into a classic Happy Meal box, creatively transformed into a reading nook.

"60 million stories have already been shared in the Happy Meal," the work concludes. According to TBWA\Paris, this applies specifically to France, where McDonald's has offered parents a choice between a book and a toy in Happy Meals since 2015.

We like "Books." It is not overwhelming, but it pushes a few good buttons. 

It hits the parts of us that lost our childhood selves in Where the Wild Things Are; then, when older, in odysseys like Life of Pi—both stories where the imagination so bleeds into reality, for better and worse, that it is hard to find the seams.

It also speaks to a longing we feel on this long, strange river of time. I am working from my bed now, hidden in the country as curfews and confinements sweep Europe again, just to feel some freedom in virustime. But it feels like we're all floating on little rafts, missing the smell of outside, and uncertain what lies beyond the next bend. It's gratifying that "Books" conveys this sense of domestic strandedness while also, mostly, taking place outside a house.

Lastly, we're reminded of when we were kids and Happy Meals occasionally offered us media. It was probably because of a Happy Meal that I got to watch Addams Family Values, or The Secret Garden. They felt like treasures to me, and it's pleasing to see this passing of stories continue to a new generation. In any case, it is far better than another small piece of plastic.

There isn't a single food item in sight. McDonald's, one of the most recognized brands in the world, has the privilege of being able to lean on the fact that everyone who'll see this knows, by heart, what its menu looks and tastes like. No need to reinforce it; we practically smell the fries when we see the Golden Arches. This light touch is appreciated—a break from feeling punted-to, at least overly much. 

For a minute, we could just float along the river and feel something that wasn't mostly just dread. That's a nice gift.


McDonald's | Books

Advertiser Managers: Xavier Royaux, Anne Lainé, Leila Abdallaoui, Gabrielle Guillaume

Agency Managers: Marc Fraissinet, Stéphanie Caude, Amalia Mateos Gella

Executive Creative Directors: Benjamin Marchal, Faustin Claverie
Art Director: Lucie Vallotton 
Copy Writer: Vincent Cusenier

Head of TV: Maxime Boiron 
TV Producer: Elisabeth Boitte
Production House: La PAC 
Executive Producer: Jérôme Denis 
Director: Reynald Gresset
Producer: Louis St Calbre
DOP: Khalid Mohtaseb
Video Editor : Graham Chisolm

CEO Else: Maxime Boiron
Post-producer: Elise Gamboa
Post-production: Else/ Digital District
Sounds: ELSE
Head of Music and Sound: Olivier Lefebvre
Soundtrack Producer: Fabrice Pouvreau
Art Music Directors: Ferdinand Huet, Thomas Jacquet
Sound Engineer: Alexandre Robieux

Music credits: 
Title of the song: "Trouble"
Author / Composer: Daniel Auerbach, Jared Champion, Brad Shultz, Matt Shultz, Daniel Tichenor
Editor: R And R Nomad Publishing Co. / Sony/ATV Songs LLC / Hour Box Music / 4U2ASKY

Media Agency: Starcom

Service Production Company: The Roots Production Service
EP: Ariel Leon Isacovitch

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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