McDonald's prompts parents to spend more time with kids

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McDonald's Arabia urges parents to make pledges with children
McDonald's Arabia urges parents to make pledges with children

The Offer: Striking a good work/life balance can be tough, which is why McDonald's Arabia enlisted Leo Burnett Dubai to spearhead “Family Time Forever.” The campaign positions the chain as a family restaurant and aims to remind parents about the importance of spending quality time with their children. Visitors to the McDonald's Arabia website are encouraged to take a proactive pledge to remember to take time out of their busy work schedules for their families. Forlorn-looking children hold up handwritten signs written on construction paper that read, for example, “Mommy, I miss your bedtime stories.”

The Data: More than 550 people have already taken at least one of more than 15 pledges that range from “I will give my child a hug everyday” to “I promise fewer late nights at work.” In order the take the pledge, visitors must provide a name and email address. An email congratulates visitors for taking the pledge.

The Channel: “Family Time Forever” was introduced through a 45-second TV spot, which aired across the Gulf region. The campaign is supported by print ads, outdoor, in-store activity and digital activity via the McDonald's Arabia website.

The Creative: The TV spot, developed by Leo Burnett and shot by Joy Films, depicts a group of young children raiding their parents' office and stealing them away from their work to spend time with them.

The Verdict:

Aaron Herrington is cofounder of and a partner at Modea Corp., a digital marketing agency in Blacksburg, Va. Modea has done work for Verizon Wireless, Newell Rubbermaid and Chiquita Brands, among others.

This is highly polished, but misses the point. There is no insight into why this is specific to the Middle East. Perhaps the interactive components were more interesting, but this is an example of why TV spots are going to have to work harder than ever to be memorable and drive consumer behavior.

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