Campaign: McDonald’s – Open Late (2017)

McDonald’s campaigns have historically focused on primary colours, product-focused photography and usually centre around a new product or special. More recently McDonalds has pushed for a more ‘natural’ feel, reshaping their brand for a more home-grown, grassroots reputation, similar to Ben & Jerry’s or Innocent, with a series of ads addressing misconceptions about the food served by the chain.

2017’s print campaign moves away from this naturalist sentiment, and uses hundreds of LEDs to recreate McDonald’s flagship products using subtle light and colour to engage with a series of connotations that step slightly away from the brand’s usual messaging.

This campaign, even without it’s minimalistic ‘Open Late’ tagline, communicates late nights, with the soft focus and bokeh, drawing festive comparisons to Christmas lights. Moving away from the pure primary red and yellow the broad palette introduces new shades of greens and blues, and an element of translucency that juxtaposes with McDonald’s usual product photography.

The effect of this is twofold; by obscuring the products, it creates a sense of reward for recognising the big mac, fries and sundae, inducing a positive emotional reaction and highlighting these products and ubiquitous cultural touchpoints. It also reinforces the festive element of this campaign, suggesting that McDonalds products are part of a Christmas tradition – and lets people project their own Christmas McDonalds experiences onto the advert.

How can this be applied to B2B business?
Using your brand palette and imagery in a new, innovative way - pushing the boundaries to play on your customers’ expectations - can be challenging, and doing so requires your brand and brand rules to be well established before they can be broken for effect. There are some simple rules that you can follow to make your adverts as effective as possible:

1.     Understand why you’re trying to stand out
There should be a reason for doing something different. A problem OrangeDoor sees, particularly at exhibitions where you see many different brands from the same industry side-by-side, is that marketing materials can all look similar. But if you have a brand that stands out already, going outside of your brand’s wheelhouse might cause more confusion than benefit.

 2.     Focus on products/solutions
It can be easy to get carried away with an exciting boundary-pushing idea for an advert, but at its heart, this idea must still focus on your product or solution. Plenty of brands have created adverts that are incredible pieces of design or copy, but miss the mark when it comes to the actual ‘advert’ – communicating the message. Keep the basic proposition of the advert simple: a product, a solution, a USP, and get creative around that foundation.

 3.     Make sure your brand is still recognisable
McDonalds benefit from having incredibly recognisable products and a universal knowledge of their brand. If you’re stepping outside your brand guidelines, make sure elements stay true to your brand so that the advert is still recognisably ‘yours’.

4.     Add the personal touch
The success of McDonalds campaign is using the hero products so that everyone will have their own story or idiosyncratic narrative associated with them – when you add the personal to the impersonal you create something that has much more individual resonance.


If you’re not sure where to start with an annex to your brand, a great way to engage with these ideas could be to create sub-branding, for a product or event, that sits within your overall brand guidelines but gives you a fresh new set of concepts, icons and imagery to leverage in campaigns. First understand ‘why’, and ensure you have a strong message behind the branding. Maintain some form of ‘you’ and work to resonate with your audience – not just your own sense of WOW!

To find out how OrangeDoor can help you use your brand in new and exciting ways call us on +44 (0)20 8289 6216 or email