McFail or McFake: Arnold Worldwide creating this mental health parody for Big Macs.

So apparently Arnold Worldwide created an ad making light of mental health for McDonalds.

McFail. This apparently ended up on a train line in Boston. But something isn't adding up for me.

McFail. This apparently ended up on a train line in Boston. But something isn’t adding up for me. reports that this ad for McDonalds by Arnold Worldwide was seen in actual execution. An apology from McDonalds was obtained, and Arnold Worldwide admitted that this ad slipped through the process of checks and balances at the agency. I’ve also seen another website report the story.

However, I’m a bit skeptical of all of this. It may seem like another agency faux pas like JWT’s gagged girls mistake in India, but the difference is large. For JWT, it seems like an art director leaked a concept of work online. For this alleged McDonalds mistake, this ad would have had to go through so many rounds of approval (internal and client) and trafficked out of the agencies. I’m not saying mistakes like typos or incorrect line spaces don’t happen, but this particular piece of creative does not seem at all likely to have made it out of the agency at all.

Clues that this may be a fake ad:

1) The funny dots around the text. I don’t like this at all, and this screams photoshop.

2) The phone number. What creative team nowadays would think of putting a phone number on advertising in lieu of a special URL they created for the campaign or hashtag? I’m thinking none.

3) If it’s fake, then why is there a woman with a smartphone obviously taking a picture of it? I’m not sure, but it could be that if it is a fake, whoever created it wanted it to seem real so they placed the fake creative into the smartphone.

4) Agency process. As an account executive, I manage tons of projects. All of them go through the agency process of internal review and client review and traffic and traffic proofs and so many other things that people who don’t work in agencies probably wouldn’t be familiar with. That process prevents ad mistakes like this.

Those clues and my thoughts about this may seem a bit “conspiracy theory” like, even for agency brethren. However, for the reasons I stated it just seems unlikely that this was trafficked out of an agency. Especially one like Arnold Worldwide.

I’m very interested in knowing if others think this creative was fake.


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