Cannes Lions

More In Common


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Research showed that McDonald’s was losing its cultural and emotional relevance with Americans. After a few years of leveraging communication to focus on food news and value messaging, the brand recognized this as an opportunity to give people a reason to feel like McDonald’s is a brand for them.

In their first brand campaign in over three years, McDonald’s wanted to show the United States just what the brand stands for. The objective was to create an integrated social campaign that would restore customer love and devotion for the brand by bringing to life one simple truth: that at any given moment, thousands of people are sharing a meal at McDonald’s. And no matter how different we are—where we’re from, how old we are, or what language we speak—we have more in common than we think.


In 2018, the United States was more divided than ever. But as the most democratic brand in the world, McDonald’s set out to demonstrate that no matter how different we are, we have more in common than we think.

In a first-of-its-kind social series, world-renowned photographer Mark Seliger traveled across the country capturing the real portraits and stories of over 70 McDonald’s customers. Using his series as inspiration, we asked hundreds of up-and-coming photographers to capture similar content in their communities.

From their collective stories—their favorite McDonald’s moments, memories, and traditions—we paired customers together based on their unexpected commonalities and launched our series with a full Instagram and takeover.


Partnering with one of most recognizable names in portrait photography, we knew Mark Seliger’s series would spark a movement. He asked hundreds of the most talented up-and-coming photographers to capture similar content in their communities, and they answered. We received over 500 portraits and stories from diverse communities all across the United States, which we also paired together based on their unexpected commonalities.

The series launched on Instagram, taking advantage of the world’s most visually captivating platform. We flipped the script on our usual food-focused feed, instead featuring the customers who’ve made the brand what it is today. On social, we specifically targeted millennials, knowing they strongly prefer brands that stand for something.


On Instagram, we launched Mark’s portraits with an Instagram grid takeover. We intentionally disrupted our usually food-focused feed with the beautiful portraits and stories of the real customers who walk through our doors every day. Throughout the next 5 months, we posted two pairs a week from the hundreds of photos we received from our up-and-coming photographers. Within each post, users were able to read customers’ stories to discover their unique commonality.

Each of Mark’s pairs, and the portrait pairs he inspired, were launched on We created a mobile-first interactive gallery featuring the same McDonald’s customers with more in common than they could’ve imagined.


With over 525mm impressions, we increased social brand favorability 81% above average. Our campaign not only inspired hundreds of fans to share their stories of commonality and love for the brand, but also proved we have more in common than we think.

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