News

McDonald’s Australia CMO: Questioning our Press Lions win is tall poppy syndrome

The CMO of McDonald’s in Australia, Mark Lollback, has claimed that “tall poppy syndrome” is the reason questions have been raised about the brand’s Lions-winning print campaign which only ran in one local paper in Sydney.

Mark Lollback (right) with Terry Savage (sitting) at the Creative Fuel event

Mark Lollback (right) with Terry Savage (sitting) at the Creative Fuel event in Sydney

Commenting publicly for the first time on the ‘Big Mac Legends’ press campaign by DDB Sydney, Lollback claimed it was a “test” when it ran in the cheapest publication in the News Local group, The Rouse Hill Times.

Lollback’s comments came after a joint presentation with Cannes Lions chairman Terry Savage at yesterday’s Creative Fuel conference entitled “What does it take to win a Cannes Lion”.

The pair looked at award winning work produced by the fast food outlet in Australia in previous years, while Savage talked about the importance of case study videos.

Last month creative agency DDB Sydney and client McDonald’s refused to reveal where the campaign, which won Bronze in the Press category, had run.

It was later discovered to have run in the Rouse Hill Times on April 30, the last day to qualify as a 2014 Cannes Lions entry.

So far Lollback has not returned calls, while the brand has only issued a brief statement which did not address where the campaign had run.

During the Q&A session following the presentation, Lollback was asked by journalists from Mumbrella’s Australia site why the only local winner from McDonald’s this year was given such a limited media run.

Lollback said: “I thought we had addressed this issue at length. The only thing I will say about this is all of our awards are entered by our agencies, we do not and I have never asked any of our agencies to enter awards.

McDonald's Muhammed Ali Big Mac Legend

“There are rules in place for all awards, whether it’s Cannes or any awards anywhere in the globe and all of our agencies follow all of those guidelines when we submit awards.”

The issue of scam is a growing one for the advertising industry, with claims that some work is created to win awards, rather than solve a clients’ marketing problems. A hallmark of scam advertising is when work for a major brand appears only once, in a low cost publication, close to an entry deadline. The lack of a brand logo is another indicator.

It was revealed recently that BBDO Singapore’s Lion-winning campaign for Guinness had only run once in I-S Magazine, a free listings title.

Lollback said: “I can’t, and hopefully you understand, discuss media strategies. I’m happy to discuss nearly anything else here this afternoon except media strategies.”

This was the same reason initially given by the marketing director for Guinness Singapore, René de Monchy, when asked about the media run for the ‘Pint in a glass’ campaign, which won three silvers in the Press Lions and a gold and a silver in the Outdoor Lions.

He told Mumbrella Asia then: “I’m sure you’re aware that it’s a highly competitive marketplace and so we do not publicly discuss media specifics.”

Lollback continued: “All I can say is it was a great campaign, it’s a campaign which we are still evaluating to run again. It was a test. It did run in radio, it run on outdoor and it did run in press and all I can say is congratulations to DDB for the award.”

Mumbrella has so far been unable to discover where the outdoor and radio components of the campaign ran.

Savage has previously said that he considered the campaign to be “legitimate” but said it was “inappropriate” to discuss where it had run.

Lollback added: “I think the attitude we should be taking is celebrating the quality of the Australian talent that we have here and we get to deal with and celebrate when they win awards versus trying to, it’s almost like the tall poppy syndrome here in Australia. Look we’ve got fantastic talent here, let’s celebrate it. Let’s get behind the talent that sits in the agencies here in Australia, that’s all I would say.”

McDonald's chief brand officer Steve Easterbrook accepts the Cannes Lions Creative Marketer of the Year award | Pic: Getty Images

McDonald’s chief brand officer Steve Easterbrook accepts the Cannes Lions Creative Marketer of the Year award | Pic: Getty Images

At the Cannes Lions this year McDonald’s director of global brand Matt Biespiel explained why awards were important to the company, which was awarded the Creative Marketer of the Year award, claiming award winning ads yield 54 per cent increase on spend.

Alex Hayes and Miranda Ward

Lollback’s response to Mumbrella’s question in full:

“I thought we had addressed this issue at length. The only thing I will say about this is all of our awards are entered by our agencies, we do not and I have never asked any of our agencies to enter awards. There are rules in place for all awards, whether its Cannes or any awards anywhere in the globe and all of our agencies follow all of those guidelines when we submit awards.

“I can’t, and hopefully you understand, discuss media strategies. I’m happy to discuss nearly anything else here this afternoon except media strategies.

“All I can say is it was a great campaign, it’s a campaign which we are still evaluating to run again. It was a test. It did run in radio, it run on outdoor and it did run in press and all I can say is congratulations to DDB for the award.

“What I will say, is actually there’s always another story to everything I read. And I know Mumbrella in particular has really focused on that angle of the story, I have to say as an Australian in marketing who’s worked here in Australia, I’ve worked in China, I’ve worked in New York and I’ve worked in London. In every one of those countries I’ve had the pleasure of working with some fantastic creative people and many of those people in those iconic countries are Australian and I have to say I think the attitude we should be taking is celebrating the quality of the Australian talent that we have here and we get to deal with and celebrate when they win awards versus trying to, it’s almost like the tall poppy syndrome here in Australia. Look we’ve got fantastic talent here, let’s celebrate it. Let’s get behind the talent that sits in the agencies here in Australia, that’s all I would say.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.

 

SUBSCRIBE

Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing