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McDonald’s – Word Association Battle (2020)

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This talent-driven ad from McDonald’s sees grime star Lethal Bizzle face off against Countdown’s resident lexicographer Susie Dent in a word association ‘battle’. It’s not hilarious, and it’s only tangentially related to the brand message that McDonald’s is trying to communicate (namely — download the My McDonald’s app.

So why have we included it in our selection of favourite McDonald’s ads? Because we want to applaud McDonald’s for daring to incorporate live, improvised comedy in their advertising. It’s not going to make many people laugh uncontrollably, but it’s entertaining and memorable — and a brand’s willingness to break new ground says a lot about that brand.

Combining the improvisation with some scripted elements might have elevated this to true ‘funny ad’ status — we imagine the ‘battle’ was genuinely improvised, but perhaps the talent could’ve been provided with some pre-written punchlines to guarantee the laughs.