BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA — MAD STARS has come to a close, and to conclude the festivities, the marketing and advertising festival recognized some of the most innovative work from all around the world. While many deserving top creative minds graced the stage to receive their awards, the Grand Prix of the Year is the most coveted award of the festival. And this year, that goes to the Philippines’ Leo Burnett Group Manila for “Unbranded Menu,” the agency’s campaign for McDonald’s that continues its streak this award season with this huge win.
“Unbranded Menu” emerges triumphant as one of the only two winners for the Grand Prix of the Year out of 20,282 entries from 63 countries, with the other being “SHELLMET” by TBWA\HAKUHODO. Leo Burnett bagged this prestigious win under the Brand Experience & Activation Stars.
“Unbranded Menu is proof of us daring to do business at the speed of culture. It’s one of our ways to keep the brand relevant to our market. We strive to do this in everything we do with our creative partners at Leo Burnett,” said Oliver Rabatan, McDonald’s VP and CMO. “And we’re grateful that the world is acknowledging we’ve done something extraordinary with this gaming campaign. I am truly proud of how far Unbranded Menu has gone and even more proud of our teams who worked and played hard to creatively hijack the gaming multiverse.”
Leading up to this MAD STARS win, the campaign has been recognized for its ingenuity and creativity again and again in the industry, and for good reason. “Unbranded Menu” was a simple but brilliantly innovative idea that took off and further established McDonald’s as the ubiquitous and iconic brand it is.
“It’s been an amazing journey! We started the year with a Grand Prix at Spikes, won some Cannes Lions and now the awards season is winding down with this Grand Prix of the Year for us at Mad Stars. Along the way, we’ve earned big wins from other global shows too,” Raoul Panes, Leo Burnett Manila and Publicis Groupe Philippines CCO, said, referring the campaign’s impressive awards streak. “It’s like finishing up a game with a haul of rewards. We’re truly grateful to the international juries for affirming that a powerful idea knows no boundaries. And as always, we’re thankful for the bravery of our McDonald’s clients.”
After Alodia Gosiengfiao, the Philippines’ gaming sensation, stumbled upon a Big Mac lookalike while playing Grand Theft Auto V, she shared a screenshot of the resemblance. This, then, initiated a challenge for her huge following to embark on a similar quest: find McDonald’s menu items in games — from The Last of Us to The Sims — and post the lookalikes on social media tagged as #ThisIsMcDonalds. In no time, the campaign went viral and proved that, branded or not, labeled or not, when people think fast food, they think of McDonald’s.
“The Ultimate goal for every brand is to find a space in culture and own it, and we found an idea that authentically made it in a refreshing way,” Fabio Seidl, Director of Global Creative Development at Meta, said of the campaign.
Chow Kok Keong, Chief Creative Officer of INNOCEAN Indonesia, commented, “A digital campaign that doesn’t rely on fancy technology or complicated coding. It’s smart, simple, yet relevant.”
adobo Magazine is an official media partner of MAD STARS 2023.