Did anyone catch the new McDonald's television commercial on prime time over the weekend? I have to admit that the sixty-second ad got my attention, and while it was most certainly not for the food - I haven't stepped into a McDdonald's since the days when Disney only released one movie a year and the Happy Meal toy felt like the only thing worth living for - it was the creative art-direction that saw larger than life Happy Meal boxes installed in various locations around the country to mark the company's new "We Do Happy" campaign.
Directed by Neil Gorringe for Leo Burnett London, a collection of five playhouses in the shape of Happy Meal boxes have been created which show families interacting with the iconic red and yellow box in public spaces such as the British high street and outdoor spaces, including a park and beach. While the fur-covered, inflatable and art canvas boxes were playful for their Oldenburg super size aesthetic, it was the reflective box that was installed in Sutton High Street that had me screaming at my television - is that a Jeff Koons Happy Meal box?
It was definitely a double take moment. I'm surprised that Koons, whose nine-foot tall and four-foot deep sculpture Hanging Heart, which sold for near twenty-seven million dollars in 2007 making it the most expensive work of art sold by a living artist at the time, had not made a Happy Meal box himself. Renowned for his transformation of everyday objects into the sublime and shiny, the same polished stainless steel surface that is practically trademark Koons was used to create the iconic children's food box that attracted a lot of attention from shoppers in this southwest London borough.
While it is an ad agencies dream to make the eight-figure sums Koons now demands, Leo Burnett London have successfully looked to the art world for inspiration quite literally out of the box. Unfortunately the ad doesn't encourage me to go to McDonald's and relive my Eighties childhood, however if they launched Happy Meal box toys à la Koons I'd be there as fast as you can say 'small fries and a large Coke'.
Jeff Koons - Hanging Heart, 1994-2006
Teamed with the jumpy beats of Dave Clark Five's Glad All Over track, McDonald's "We Do Happy" campaign brings together haute art with Pop cuisine. I'm lovin' it. Are you?