McDonald’s U.K. Mocks All Other Coffee Advertising in Its Amusing Ode to Simplicity

McCafe once again hits competitors right in the beans

Beautiful people drinking coffee in improbable places? Such coffee ad tropes get skewered in McCafe's new spot. Leo Burnett London
Headshot of David Griner

When you think “gourmet coffee,” a few scenes are likely to come to mind: a meticulous barista sampling from a veritable chemistry set, perhaps. Or maybe something in the Nespresso vein of incredibly attractive people sipping while staring philosophically into the distance.

McDonald’s, of course, isn’t going to go in either of those directions. Or, more accurately, it’s going to all those places and more in the brand’s new McCafe spot from Leo Burnett London.

Continuing the vibe of the agency’s 2017 “Madness” spot–which we named one of the year’s funniest ads from around the world—the fast food giant’s coffee brand this time switches from mocking the ridiculous experience of ordering coffee to making fun of the ridiculous ways coffee is often marketed.

From interpretive dance to historical epics, here’s McCafe’s satirical homage to all other coffee ads:

“The McCafĂ© work has always rung true with customers—people who just want a great coffee,” says  Michelle Graham-Clare, marketing director for McDonald’s U.K. “This campaign is no different, tackling the world of coffee advertising in a funny and relatable way. The campaign highlights the fact that we know people want to feel assured they are going to get a good cup of coffee, but they don’t always enjoy the pretentiousness that comes with it.”

Chaka Sobhani, chief creative officer at Leo Burnett London, says the coffee industry is one of many that tends to market itself with more gravitas than the product often needs—and certainly more than the customers need.

“The category can still take itself a little too seriously,” she says, describing the ongoing McCafe campaign as “ribbing the madness when all we really want is a cup of great tasting coffee, simple.”

Speaking of “Madness,” here’s a look back at the brand and agency’s 2017 spot, followed by credits for the new work:

Agency: Leo Burnett London
Chaka Sobhani – Chief Creative Officer
Pete Heyes – Creative Director
Andrew Long – Senior Creative
James Millers – Senior Creative
Bruce Macrae – TV Producer
Max Keane – Head of Planning
Adriana Ferran – Senior Planner
Jamie Teale – Group Project Director
Sian Collister – Project Manager
Victoria Reiz – Client Service Director
Kate Tweed – Business Director
Jassmine Wixon – Account Director
Felicity Davies – Senior Account Manager
Kate Aspinall – Account Manager
Gabriella Kaas – Account Executive

Michelle Graham-Clare – Marketing Director
Tom O’Neill – Marketing Manager
Jodie White – Brand Manager
Harry McLean – Campaign Assistant

Copywriter: Andrew Long
Art director: James Millers
Planner/CSU Director: Adriana Ferran

Media agency: OMD
Executive Business Director: Jo Butler
Associate Director: Lucy Johnson
Communications Planning Manager: Jamie Graham
Strategy Director: Julia Smith
Connections Planning Manager: Anna Martorana
Digital Connections Planning Associate Director: Tom Kirkham
Investment Associate Director: Alex Neary

Production company: Academy Films
Director: Us
Audio Postproduction: 750 mph
Postproduction: Framestore

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."