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McDonald’s China Celebrates Chinese New Year With Imperial-themed Ads

Leo Burnett Shanghai launches campaign to highlight new menu items

In recent years, costume dramas based in ancient China have captured the imagination of many Chinese TV viewers. This Chinese New Year, McDonald’s China and Leo Burnett Shanghai tapped into this trend and launched a light-hearted imperial-themed ad campaign to highlight the fast good giant’s new menu items.

The three spots are based on the comic idea that people today lead better lives compared to emperors and empresses of the past, especially when it comes to procuring the food their hearts desire.

Rocky Hao, head of creative at Leo Burnett Shanghai, said, “We call this current fad for costume dramas ‘Royal Court Syndrome,’ and that’s what inspired us to base our new campaign around funny stories of imperial life.”

In “Shrimp,” the emperor’s beloved requests some fresh shrimp as a treat. She ends up having to wait from before their wedding day to after the birth of her child.

“Lychee” dramatizes the great lengths — and thousands of miles — imperial officials had to go through just to present an empress a single lychee.

“Pineapple” shows the humorous attempt by imperial court officials to try and break open an exotic fruit covered in spikes.

“The creative process was full of challenges. We spent a lot of time researching historical files online and even in the National Library to be as accurate as possible and yet add interesting twists to make the story more fun. It took a while to develop the illustration style, not to mention the music and the voiceover. We hope this campaign will bring people a fresh feeling about McDonald’s, and of course, a little fun and enjoyment this festive season,” Hao added.