To celebrate the launch of the McSpicy burger onto McDonald's menus for a limited time offer, we've released a blisteringly hot ad campaign that invites customers to engage on social in one of the most hotly debated dinner table discussions: how spicy is it?

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The campaign plays on the subjectivity around how spicy food is by encouraging people to take part in a #McSpicyDebate. Customers can rate the spiciness of the hottest new addition to Maccers’ menu on social by selecting one of four spice tribes they belong to: “A lil’ kick”, “Pretty spicy actually”, “HOT, HOT, HOT” and “My mouth’s on FIRE!”.


Thomas O’Neill, Head of Marketing Food & Beverages of McDonald’s, said: “We’re really excited to be bringing the McSpicy to our menu. We wanted to create a campaign that leans into the inevitable debate our customers will be having about spice – and the result is certainly going to get people talking.”


Dynamic OOH will pull live results from national and regional Twitter polls into panels dotted around the country, giving consumers an insight into the leading spice tribe. Digital OOH panels will also be adorned with user generated Tweets, further showing consumer opinions on the McSpicy.


The campaign will also be served on display, social and app – including a McSpicy Snapchat lens and its own custom emoji and GIFs developed by Leo Burnett, so people can have fun interacting with the campaign. There is also a social content partnership with LADbible, featuring those who’ve put their tastebuds to the test and tried the McSpicy for themselves.

Mark Elwood, executive creative director of Leo Burnett, said: “Spice is so subjective – what might be eye wateringly hot for some, may be a mere tingle for others. Telling customers the McSpicy is ‘hot’ could fuel disappointment to hardcore spice fiends or alienate others with a weaker constitution... So why not invite customers into the debate to judge our burger for themselves.”


Accompanying the social campaign will be a 30s TVC directed by Simon Neal and supported by Publicis Groupe UK’s production agency Prodigious. ‘First Bites’ is an entertaining and authentic celebration of Britain and Ireland’s diverse taste buds set to Nelly’s ‘Hot in Herre’ iconic soundtrack. The 30s spot records the genuine reactions of the cast on trying the new burger and the ad’s light-hearted and playful approach and tone will remind people of McDonald’s ‘Hungry Eyes’, ‘Ker-ching!’ and ‘We Deliver’ ads we’ve seen in recent times. 


For the launch of the campaign, McDonald’s will disrupt the traditional radio ad break with a Global partnership that’ll see Roman Kemp and Jamie Theakston lay bare their spice tolerances in engaging pieces with Dexter, the voice of McDonald’s. Some of the nation’s favourite podcasters will weigh in on the debate too, with Sh**ged, Married Annoyed and Two Pints with Will and Ralph lined up to give their view on McDonald’s newest product. 

Leo Burnett

As Leo himself once said: “At the end of the day, we’re just people talking to people.”

And that sums up how we think. We never forget that on the other side of every screen, watching every ad or reading every tweet are people. Not just pairs of eyes with credit cards. But human beings, who want to be entertained, engaged and listened to.

Which is why we want to make work that connects on a human level. That everyone will love. Proudly populist creative work that makes people smile, laugh, cry and everything in between. Whether that’s through advertising or managing brand partnerships with our Sports + Entertainment team.

But it’s also why we believe in being decent human beings. Either to work with or to work for. Because putting people first is at the heart of everything we do.