Cannes Lions


DDB SOUTH AFRICA, Johannesburg / MCDONALD'S / 2013

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McDonald's is a challenger brand in South Africa. As such it needs to develop truly innovative communication to stand out and build the brand on small budgets. Our brief was to build affinity with South Africans but also to drive sales thereby maximizing our limited budgets.

We decided to achieve this using the core McDonald's principle of ‘good neighbourliness’ which we would bring to life in a live PR experience.

This involved filming children from a local orphanage being taken to McDonald's for McFlurries, but instead of eating them, they take them to a shelter populated by elderly people where they are distributed with an emotional response from the inhabitants. This role reversal where orphans display kindness to older adults showed that it really is better to give than to receive and that South Africa’s often divided society can be brought together with a little bit of goodwill and effort.

A larger proportion of the production budget than normal was also put into supporting the orphans and orphanage financially.

The film was aired for 2 weeks and simultaneously released online reaching 250 000 impressions on social sites in just three days. The story was also seeded with 200 bloggers generating major coverage at their free will.

A total of 2 million people were reached via free PR.

Sales of McDonald's desserts rose 25% despite it being winter.

This is clearly a PR led campaign as the ‘paid’ aspect was minor compared to the ‘earned’.


We created and filmed our simple human story of sharing and generosity as follows:

On a hot day in eMfuleni Township, we see the children in Sakhumzi Orphanage being roused and shepherded aboard a bus which takes them to McDonald's for McFlurries. But rather than eat them, the children run straight back to the bus which heads to an old age home where they rush in and surprise the elderly folk. There is a spontaneous moment of surprise, sharing and gratitude between both groups concluding with the line ‘Everyone can do with a little happiness’.

Firstly, the film was aired for 2 weeks and uploaded to YouTube.

Secondly, a media release detailing the ‘real’ nature of the film was sent to prominent bloggers triggering a frenzy of interest.

Leading newspapers and radio stations picked up on the real life story which took on a life of its own as hoped.


This wasn’t just a feelgood campaign. Over and above winning hearts and minds, we had spectacular sales effects. 25% growth in McFlurry sales vs previous year - despite launching the campaign in winter.

A new Mudpie McFlurry flavour launched on the back of this campaign is currently outperforming its sales target by 16%.

Over 2 million South Africans were reached through free PR, which included newspapers, broadcast, online and social media. Over R3 million in free media earned.

250 000* combined video impressions on YouTube and other social sharing sites in the first three days. (Please note that there are under 2 million South Africans with internet access)

Over 200 local & international blogs picked up the story.

Despite these successes, the biggest smiles came from receiving news that the children's home has been inundated with calls to adopt some of the cast members.

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More Snapchat. Less social media.


More Snapchat. Less social media.

2024, SNAP, INC.

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