Could "Unbranding" Be The Next Big Thing?

Have you seen this new "unbranded" campaign? 

How long did it take you before you figured out who Mindy Kaling was talking about?

As a marketer, it seems so counterintuitive to not say your name if you want to leave a lasting impression, right? There are a few reasons McDonald’s can get away with this and come out on top of viewers’ minds.  


1. McDonald’s is already winning SEO.

The brand smartly noticed millions of search engine results favor the restaurant and decided to capitalize on this. They say that Google isn’t helping them at all; they are merely using what’s already out there. When you ask viewers to google something to prove you're worth your salt, you better be sure you're winning. 


2. The brand is so well known, subtle inferences work.

The branding of McDonald’s is so well known, and has been for years, subtleties allowing viewers to infer what they mean just work! Mindy Kaling wearing a yellow dress against a red backdrop is a (maybe not so subtle) nod to the branding. Maybe you knew which brand Kaling was supporting just from the thumbnail for the video. 


3. It's connected to the most popular brand in the world.

Connecting with Coca-Cola is a brilliant move. McDonald's has done a great job of laying the groundwork for this. Previous commercials have pointed to Coke just being a dollar and tasting better there. Now when they reference themselves as "that place that Coke tastes so good," consumers can easily connect the dots. 


4. The commercial is interactive.

By encouraging viewers to google which brand the commercial is alluding to, McDonald's is turning passive observers into active participants. As we mentioned in this blog, interactive content is the most effective type.


They nailed it. 


Bonus –

It doesn't hurt the commercial is endorsed by the hilarious and insanely popular Mindy Kaling. A loved celebrity singing your brand's praises is a sure fire way to get your message to stick. 


Going unbranded was a brilliant move for McDonald's. The video of the ad has received millions of views AND the campaign has received lots of free press (like this blog, for example.) This commercial is proof, if you play it the right way...

Some things are better left unsaid.