(This is a still from an TV ad that is no longer available)
An ad succeeds because it speaks to the non-conscious mind, that part of our mind that uses over 99% of our brain and that part of our brain where most of our decisions are made. Our non-conscious mind has its roots in brain structures we share with reptiles. The non-conscious mind is the lizard inside each of us.
An ad succeeds because it speaks the language of the lizard. This ad does.
The ad is an exercise in association, pairing the tribulations and celebrations of everyday life with the McDonald’s brand through a series of images of McDonald’s outdoor signs and the location-specific message beneath each. Everyone understands what McDonald’s has to offer. McDonald’s would like to enhance what it feels like to go to McDonald’s. McDonald’s would like everyone who goes to the restaurant to feel they are participating in the spirit, determination, optimism, and kindness of ordinary people. That is not a link that can be made by logic. No one can argue that case rationally. But the case can be made by association. And the lizard inside responds to association.
Thanks to the lizard inside, viewers pay little attention to what brands say but pay a lot of attention to what brands do. This ad is an example of what McDonald’s does. The way to understand its impact is not to ask consumers what the ad says but ask consumers what sort of brand would make this video. If we ask, we would find that viewers feel the brand that would make this video is confident, can be counted on, and cares about and enjoys ordinary people.
A great example of a video communicating far more than its literal content.