W+K agency working with Nike will add creativity to McDonald's advertising campaigns.
What do McDonald's and American football player Colin Kaepernick have in common? Obviously, until today there was nothing. Until McDonald's announced a long-term contract with advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy, best known for its flashy work for Nike.
Working with McDonald's will be W+K's New York office, which also works with Bud Light, Ford and other brands. The parties immediately dispelled doubts about a possible conflict of interest based on the fact that W+K has acted as a creative agency for KFCbecause this collaboration took place outside of the Portland headquarters.
At first glance, it might seem that McDonald's' contract with W+K is just another way to freshen up the brand in the eyes of consumers by bringing in a new agency. In fact, the company is actually buying a fresh perspective on global marketing from the biggest independent agency - and that really matters.
According to McDonald's director of marketing Morgan Flatley, the choice in favor of W+K was made for a combination of strategic and creative work of the agency. “Creative excellence is my main passion,” Flatley said, noting that the agency “understands the heart and soul of their brand.” Ford, which works with W+K, calls the agency its "innovation partner," noting that it can focus on the true face of the brand without thinking about what the next ad campaign will be.
In today's era of creative excellence becoming harder to measure, the key to W+K's success (whether in a Kaepernick commercial for Nike, Colonel Sanders' slightly bizarre interpretations for KFC, or the Game of Thrones tie-in with Bud Light) is being able to push the client to take taking more risks in pursuit of creativity.
W+K notes that in order to be creatively effective, one must be able to be honest with the true position of the brand in the market. “I get that they want to talk about the Chrysler 200, but let's be honest, it's like a rental car,” said Neil Arthur, managing director of W+K in New York. If a McDonald's willing to accept this state of affairs and an honest independent assessment, he can stop being just a Burger King punching bag in an ad and find a way to be big and amazingly creative in a way that hasn't been for a very long time.