McDonald’s celebrates moments of togetherness with the launch of ‘The Alternative Christmas List’

  • November 10, 2022

McDonald’s is changing the meaning of ‘Christmas lists’ this year as it launches The Alternative Christmas List, a campaign anchored around a mobile experience accessed through the McDonald’s App, led by Leo Burnett UK.

The campaign gives new meaning to the festive symbol of a Christmas list. Instead of being about material objects, McDonald’s Alternative Christmas List is instead made up of a series of experiences each curated to bring families together to enjoy small but meaningful moment of magic.

At the centre of the campaign is the Alternative Christmas List mobile experience. Launching on 14th November, the Alternative Christmas List invites fans to enjoy six unique experiences, released weekly in the build up to Christmas. Every experience on The Alternative Christmas List has been created to enhance a shared family moment, and the experiences will include things like McDonald’s festive PJs and Jumpers for the ultimate night in on Christmas Eve, a touring festive photobooth and McDelivery Christmas carollers and a festive audio books for those families driving home for Christmas.

To launch the campaign and raise awareness of the alternative Christmas list, McDonald’s has created a 90 second film directed by Academy® Award winner Tom Hooper, known for critically acclaimed hits like The King’s Speech and Les Miserables.

The film tells the story of a little boy named Alfie, who gets carried away with the excitement of writing a Christmas List, before realising that it’s the little shared moments that really matter. The film sets up the idea of the importance of family time over the materialistic aspect of Christmas, reminding the UK what’s important during the festive season.

Opening on Alfie and his mum looking over the balcony of their flat at neighbours riding a red bike, she encourages him to write a Christmas list for Father Christmas. As the boy crafts and builds his list, he becomes more and more carried away with the craft and excitement of it. The list grows and grows: multiplying in length each time we see it. Alfie and his parents are Christmas shopping at their local high street when he asks, ‘How do you send this to Father Christmas?’. The pages begin to take flight, riding a gust of wind into the sky. The boy and parents chase the list through the town centre, but the list flies into the distance. The upset boy is embraced by his parents: mum spots a McDonald’s in the distance and they head in to cheer him up. Mum asks ‘What was on your list anyway?’. Alfie smoothens out a scrunched up page of the list, which he managed to keep as it flew away: the most important page of them all, it shows a drawing of mum, dad and son.

The ad, created by Leo Burnett, will launch in cinema’s alongside Black Panther’s ‘Wakanda Forever’ and on TV on 13th November during ITV’s ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!’. The soundtrack, recorded by Becky Hill, is an enchanting, festive rendition of Yazoo’s iconic track, ‘Only You’.

Now in its sixth year, #ReindeerReady is a creative platform that has grown year on year and has helped McDonald’s find its place amongst the Christmas festivities. #ReindeerReady is all about shared traditions and rituals, this year’s iteration celebrates family time – more important this year than ever before after a challenging few years.

The Red Consultancy has led activations, experiential and PR, OMD has handled all media planning and buying, CRM by Armadillo and Linney – all point of purchase activity and competitions by TMS.

A festive food campaign will underline the campaign, bringing back the Big Tasty, Festive Pie, Cheese Melt Dippers, Celebrations McFlurry, Hot Chocolate Deluxe, as well as new McCafé product, the Caramel Waffle Latte.

We know this Christmas isn’t going to be a normal one for many families across the UK and Ireland, so it’s more important than ever that we’re there to support our customers in their preparations to get Reindeer Ready.

We’re proud to launch The Alternative Christmas List, which will provide many families across the UK with free, fun activities in the lead-up to the big day, but to also be supporting our charity partner BBC Children in Need with much-needed funds at a time when they need it most.
Michelle Graham-Clare
Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer at McDonald’s UK & Ireland
We can all get a bit carried away by the excitement of Christmas, but we all know it’s those small moments with loved ones that matter the most. We hope the Alternative Christmas List taps into that, particularly in such a difficult year, and gets people up and down the country proper reindeer ready.
Chaka Sobhani
Chief Creative Officer