Cannes Lions

Plastic Blows

NORD DDB, Oslo / MCDONALD'S / 2019

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In March 2019, McDonald’s Norway replaced their plastic straws with biodegradable straws. A small step of many in the right direction.

Our brief was to mark this shift in line with the global guidelines of feel good marketing, but still make sure all Norwegians got the message: from now on McDonald's Norway takes plastic reduction seriously.

Our objective was to change brand perception by communicating sustainability initiatives in a feel good way.

Production cost (flute and film material): 39.800 USD

Media spend: 88.900 USD

One custom made plastic straw flute. Documented on TV and online. Now on tour until December.


Being one of the least trustworthy brands regarding climate action, sustainability needs to be communicated in the right tone. Especially since McDonald’s is about simple, easy enjoyment.

Our one of a kind plastic straw flute (a recorder, the one that every Norwegian has played falsely during elementary school) was given to Steinar Ofsdal, our world famous professor in flutes. He played Morning Mood by another national treasure, Edward Grieg, on our rocky shores out west. By his tunes we let Norwegians know exactly what McDonald’s feels about plastic, which is that Plastic Blows ("Blås i plast" in Norwegian).

Using biodegradable straws marks an important shift for McDonald's. The plastic flute is now touring restaurants as a conversation starter locally, and will in December be put on a plaque in the oldest McDonald's restaurant in Norway, as an everlasting reminder of this enjoyable step in the right direction.


To be able to show that Plastic Blows, we made a one of a kind flute (a recorder) of 100% McDonald's plastic straws. 377 straws to be precise. The casing is handmade paper made of the plastic straw wrappings (we just added water in the process).

We designed the parts of the recorder in 3D. Using a CNC milling machine we milled the injection molds in aluminum. (The molds can be recycled after use). We cut the plastic straws into pieces and fed them into our customised, manual injection molding machine. Here the plastic straw pieces were melted and pressed into the molds.

The flute was then mounted and tuned with correct intonation holes.

The finished flute was then put in the casing and sealed, as an actual plastic straw.


Based on qualitative and quantitative consumer research, we learned that tone of voice is extremely important when communicating sustainability proofs on behalf of McDonald’s. A brand that many “love to hate” should not be too proud of their own accomplishments as we learned people are already skeptical.

The McDonald's Holistic Brand Tracker showed immediate impact with an increase of 11.3% (March/April 2018-2019) within ETHICAL AND RESPONSIBLE COMPANY and an increase of 12,7% (March/April 2018-2019) within BRAND I TRUST – the two most important brand metrics for McDonald’s. Engagement rate of the online video shows 0,11% which is more than 5 times higher than our normal average of 0,02%. Sales date for the month of March is up 8% and guest count up 2% compared to numbers from 2018, but these are early numbers where weather and seasonality have yet to be accounted for.

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