Burrell’s McDonald’s Campaign, Directed By Bob Giraldi, Once Again Taps The Talents Of An Iconic Director To Deliver A Spot Rooted In A Real-Life Story About The Power Of Community Spirit

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    SJ Golden

Burrell’s McDonald’s Campaign, Directed By Bob Giraldi, Once Again Taps The Talents Of
 An Iconic Director To Deliver A Spot Rooted In A Real-Life Story About The Power Of Community Spirit

Burrell Communications is skilled at crafting commercials with a brand message grounded in real-life situations that strike a chord with their target market. The award-winning agency pioneered the approach in the ‘70s, coining it ‘positive realism,’ introducing a genre of storytelling that sparked a new trend in advertising, and continues to strengthen the connection between brands and consumers three decades later.

The McDonald’s spot, ‘40,000 Friends’ (https://vimeo.com/165019481) showcases Burrell’s deftness at creating compelling documentary-style, targeted ads, tapping the considerable talents of iconic director, Bob Giraldi to bring its script to life. A previous McDonald’s spot out the agency, entitled ‘Good Things,’ called upon the skills of another lauded veteran director and DP,  Joe Pytka, who brought his honed aesthetic  to the crafting of its real-life inspired story. Driven by agency’s sharply contrasting concepts for the two commercials - and the directors’ powerful cinematic storytelling styles - creative editor Bob Ackerman, of The Colonie, wove together a pair of inspiring commercials that take very different approaches to delivering a shared message about the power of community spirit.

The Chicago-based agency’s concept for the spot, ‘40,000 Friends,’ is an uplifting story that chronicles a day in the life of Rick Smith, founder of #RAKE (Random Acts of Kindness,) and an individual who shares McDonald’s commitment to communities.
Giraldi’s documentary-style contrasts the gritty, impersonal feel of the city with the generous, open-heartedness of #Rake’s mission. Shot in one day at multiple locations throughout Los Angeles, the footage was then delivered to The Colonie in Chicago, where Ackerman cut a :60 and :30 version of the spot. Burrell team collaborated with the editor, along with Giraldi, who maintained communication with throughout the postproduction process.

'40,000 Friends' opens with Rick, clad in a tee-shirt that reads, ‘RANDOM Acts of Kindness,’ and follows him through the city as he connects with a mix of people, giving each one something to enrich their day. The voiceover explains his mission: ‘It’s funny how the littlest things can change somebody’s day, perhaps even their life. My little thing started with a tweet and ended with a movement. Now I’m traveling with that movement across the country.’

Every act of goodwill is a personal triumph for Rick, fueling his commitment to making a difference in the community - one person at a time - while encouraging others to ‘pay it forward.’ When a Tweet alerts him of a Pajama Drive, Rick heads for it, bringing a couple of bags of McDonald’s to help sustain the volunteers. The voiceover subtly makes the connection between his story and the brand: ‘Like Rick, McDonald’s knows what it means to be deeply rooted in communities everywhere.” 

For ‘Good Things,’ (https://vimeo.com/121077735) Burrell takes a very differ approach with a story that opens with a group of African-American teenagers hanging out in on a city street corner, spray paint cans in hand. Acclaimed director Joe Pytka’s filmic-style, and its unflinching, gritty urban realism establish the spot’s dark, foreboding tone - giving no hint of a potentially positive outcome.  However, as the evening plays out, the scenario takes an optimistic turn as we see the group transforming negative graffiti into art that beautifies the community and sends an uplifting message. The teenagers put the finishing touches on a large mural of the city skyline, with the word “love” above it.  Enjoying breakfast from McDonald’s becomes part of the celebration of their achievement -  and the brand’s message: “When you’re deeply rooted in the community, you spread lovin’ where you live.”

“Much like any documentary-style film project, the editor’s role is to take the most meaningful moments and intertwine them into a story that engages and informs the viewer,” says Ackerman, who has worked with the agency on numerous McDonald’s campaigns and cut over a dozen spots directed by Pytka and Giraldi. 

“Burrell EVP/CCO, Lewis Williams, and the agency’s GCD, Lisa McDonnell, are masters at crafting spots that distil the essence of a brand’s message into real-life stories with an engaging film-like quality that draws in and inspires its audience,” adds the editor. “The level of creativity that they bring to each commercial – and the trust that we’ve built with them over the years - always results in something special. Adding footage crafted by two of the industry’s most gifted director to the mix made cutting these spots a true pleasure.”

About The Colonie: The Colonie is an award-winning Chicago-based creative editorial, motion design, visual FX and finishing boutique with a seamless full-service approach to creating spots and cross-platform content that engage, entertain, inform and move audiences.  

Our multi-disciplined collective of creative, technically skilled storytellers work as a creative partner with clients, following a shared vision - from rough-cut through completion – and consistently delivering a final product that exceeds expectations.  A wide range of national and global clients, such as Nintendo, Google, McDonald’s, Pepsico and Bayer, rely upon our accomplished team of talent to consistently deliver compelling creative content that elevates the viewer’s experience and connects them to brands. For more information about The Colonie and its services, visit www.TheColonie.com, or contact executive producer Mary Caddy at 312-225-1234, or Sonia Blum or Hillary Herbst at Hilly Reps, 312.944.1100.

CREDITS: McDONALD’S / ’40,000 Friends’ CLIENT: McDonald’s
 TITLE: ’40,000 Friends’   :60/:30 
TYPE: Broadcast Commercial
Airdate: March 05 ,2016

AGENCY: Burrell Communications, Chicago                
      EVP/CCO:  Lewis Williams
      Producer:  Shirley Portee
      GCD: Lisa McConnell
      ACD:  Winston Cheung
       Director: Bob Giraldi
       DP: Adam Richards
       Producer: J.P Greaney

EDITORIAL COMPANY: The Colonie, Chicago
       Creative Editor: Bob Ackerman
       Assistant Editor: Graham Chapman
       Finishing: Tom Dernulc
       Assistant Editor: Ben Pokorny
       Design: Lyndsay McCully
       Executive Producer: Mary Caddy                                      

          Colorist:  Michael Matusek      

AUDIO + SOUND DESIGN COMPANY:  Mix Kitchen, Chicago  
            Mixer:  Sam Fishkin       
            Sound Designer:  

MUSIC COMPANY: Jira Productions, Chicago
           Composer:  Ira Antellis 

CREDITS: McDONALD’S/ ‘Good Things’
Client: McDonald’s 
Title: ‘Good Things’  :60

Agency: Burrell Communications, Chicago
          EVP/CCO:  Lewis Williams
          Producer: Debra Dale, 
          Group Creative Director:  Rebecca Williams
          CD/Writer: Lisa McConnell
          Associate CD/Art Director: Winston Chueng

Production Company: PYTKA
          Director/DP: Joe Pytka, 
          Producer: Gretchen Siss

Editorial + VFX Company: The Colonie, Chicago 
          Creative Editor: Bob Ackerman
          Finishing: Tom Dernuic
          Executive Producer: Mary Caddy

Color Correction Company: Filmworkers Club, Chicago 
          Colorist: Michael Mazur

Audio/Sound Design Company: Mix Kitchen, Chicago 
           Mixer: Sam Fishkin, 

Music: “Inner City Blues” performed by Marvin Gaye

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