McDonald’s is a long-time supporter of the Ronald McDonald Children’s Fund, which works to keeps families close to their kids in the hospital during tough times. Our brief was to reflect the human stories behind this support by showing three Ronald McDonald kids as what they are: total superheroes. For this new league of McNificents, we were briefed to create three 60-second animated action films showing how they each fight monsters with a unique superpower based on their illness. All good superheroes deserve a spot in a Happy Meal, so we also designed toy figurines which were shared throughout the Netherlands for one day. This was all about celebrating the kids’ strength, both in how they tackle their illness and how they benefit from having their family close by.
When this idea came to us, it instantly became a project close to our hearts. From superhero-power-ideation to art direction, animation, music and post-production, we worked hard to make these characters, superpowers and stories as cool as possible for the kids. Every scene was meticulously drawn out in 2D concept art first, and because everyone loved the look of these 2D drawings, we kept it to that style. This left our VFX department with the challenging task to translate these 2D designs into workable CG animations. For this, we also took inspiration comic books, with broken-up lines and paper-like textures within flat surfaces to create that sketchy, hand-drawn look. We also wanted to make each film feel like the kids' own, so we dug deep to make sure they closely reflected their personality, personal challenges and hobbies. This meant three totally unique heroes, different environment, and different monsters, all working as one as if kicking ass in the same stylistic universe.
The McNificents show that children can gain confidence and strength, even when they feel weak, by giving them a superpower to fight their sickness. A superpower that is fueled by their family being close by their side. Showing these personal stories behind the Ronald McDonald Fund touched Dutch hearts, and in a little more than a week, the McNificents swept the nation. Earned reach hit over 47 million, including coverage on national TV news programmes like the Jeugdjournaal. According to effect research, the campaign significantly boosted brand perception: McDonald’s is seen as a more socially involved company (73%, +14%), changing for the better (54%, +11%) and guests as a whole were more engaged with the brand (27%, +20%). But the best part? Getting to see how the kids and their parents reacted to the McNificents.