The past two weeks have seen Christmas adverts coming in thick and fast, and now McDonald’s has joined in the festivities with its own 90-second film.
The fast food chain’s advert introduces “Imaginary Iggy”, who is dreamt up by a young girl named Matilda one Christmas.
Set to an acoustic rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s hit “Time After Time”, sung by Swedish-English star Mabel, McDonald’s promised that its tear-jerking tale of childhood imagination will accompany a campaign to fund the redistribution of five million meals to families in need this Christmas through FareShare.
The story follows Matilda and Iggy as he coaxes her out of her shy shell. When they first meet, Matilda offers up a carrot from McDonald’s Reindeer Treats bag to Iggy, a fuzzy blue creature with horns, stripey socks, a tinsel tail, and a toothy smile.
Matilda bonds with her imaginary friend over Christmas rituals like putting out carrots for Santa’s reindeer on Christmas Eve, performing for her family and watching festive films.
But as she grows into a teenager, Matilda begins to distance herself from Iggy and Christmas. The first clue to her growing apart comes when she leaves her family and Iggy in the living room in favour of texting on her phone.
The older she gets, the less Matilda wants to associate herself with her imaginary friend. Eventually, Matilda hides him away in her closet when her friends come over to hang out.
Viewers see her years later as a young woman sitting with friends in a McDonald’s when she spots a young boy playing with his Reindeer Treats, which she used to share with Iggy, and it reminds her of her long-forgotten friend.
She hurries home into her room and opens her closet to see if Iggy is still there. At first, all she sees are her clothes, and a disappointed expression forms on her face.
But Iggy slowly emerges from back of the closet, his soft-toy eyes brightening and he smiles his toothy smile when he sees Matilda again after all these years.
Michelle Graham-Clare, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of McDonald’s, said the advert comes as families are preparing to “reunite all over the country after a difficult few years”.
In 2020, many families were unable to meet for Christmas due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Graham-Clare said: “We’re confident our advert perfectly encapsulates the magic of childhood imagination which comes alive at this time of year and provides a helpful reminder that you’re never too old to make believe.
“We look forward to seeing our customers’ reactions to the advert and hope that the friendship between Matilda and Iggy brings a smile to viewers when watching.”
McDonald’s will donate funding to enable FareShare to redistribute millions of meals to vulnerable families over the festive season as part of its Christmas campaign this year.
Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare, added: “We are incredibly grateful to McDonald’s and Mabel for their kindness and generosity this winter.
“It is vitally important that the communities we serve are helped as much as possible, given the highly challenging circumstances many families and individuals are facing.”
The McDonald’s Christmas advert will air on Friday 12 November on Channel 4, during Gogglebox.