Cannes Lions 2016 Showcase: Deconstructing the McWhopper


( – This year’s Cannes Lions might be over but let’s break down what made these campaigns so successful.

This week we shine the spotlight on Grand Prix winner in the Media and Print and Publishing categories.

McWhopper by Burger King and Y&R New Zealand.

In the fiercely competitive fast food category, Burger King faced declining consideration in the all-important 18 – 34 year old millennial demographic.

A new breed of competitors such as Chipotle was connecting with youth via a shared sense of purpose and social good, positioning BK as old fashioned.

Peace One Day is a global non-profit organisation whose goal is to make United Nations Peace Day, on 21 September, an annual day of non-violence and global unity.

Each year they campaign tirelessly to raise awareness of Peace Day under the theme ‘Who Will You Make Peace With?’ Our objectives were twofold: increase brand consideration for Burger King and raise awareness of Peace Day 2015.

1) People are curious for new flavour combinations and willing to trample across brand conventions to experience them.

2) There’s no longer an inside / outside of a company – thanks to social media, corporations are now held accountable for their actions.

Creative idea: Burger King made a highly visible proposal to McDonald’s, inviting them to collaborate on a truly one-of-a-kind product: The McWhopper.

The proposed mash-up burger would combine key ingredients from each restaurant’s signature product, The Big Mac and The Whopper, to be prepared and served on one day only, United Nations Peace Day, 21st September 2015.


The McWhopper campaign wasn’t made social, it was born social. We were confident that had we approached McDonald’s behind closed doors, they would have said no behind closed doors.

So by making the proposal very public (via two of the world’s most famous newspapers, various outdoor executions, a campaign microsite, and the leading social platforms), we knew McD’s would be more inclined to respond.

However, the proposal was so diligently planned, success did not hinge on a yes or a no – we created a comprehensive suite of campaign assets to inspire engagement no matter what.

It was a completely integrated approach designed to empower the public and media to create and share do-it-yourself McWhoppers, further spreading awareness.

It was all very well for the world to take notice, but we wanted the world to take action.


BK published an open letter in traditional and social, inviting McD’s to collaborate in creating and serving the McWhopper on Peace Day.

The proposal was supported by tactical outdoor and spearheaded by, a multimedia toolkit of co-branded assets: staff apparel, signage, and a pop-up restaurant.

Every asset was designed to be visually iconic and translate into multiple languages, for ease of share-ability.

The proposal was met by frenzied public support, so McDonald’s drew criticism when they turned down the offer.

Inspired by BK’s online Burger Build film, tens of thousands of people took matters into their own hands by creating and sharing do-it-yourself McWhoppers on mainstream and social media – integrating the competitor’s product with our own.

Simultaneously, four other rival restaurants raised their hands for peace and together with BK created the historic ‘Peace Day Burger’, a symbolic mash-up available at an Atlanta pop-up on Peace Day only.


The McWhopper proposal blended traditional and new media thinking: 1) We used the gravitas that major newspapers still hold in the psyche of consumers (even those that don’t read them) and the media to offer our corporate rival an olive branch.

A proposal we knew would ignite debate in social media.2) People would need to know what the McWhopper tasted like.

So we created, a social media tool kit. Burger lovers became our media channel by creating, reviewing, and sharing DIY McWhoppers online.

No matter what McDonald’s said, the internet made the McWhopper a reality.


• USD 8.9 billion media impressions·
• Earned media value USD 138 million
• #1 trending topic on Facebook, Twitter
• Over 10,000 DIY McWhopper reviews on YouTube PEACE ONE DAY
• +40% increase in Peace Day awareness (from 30% to 43% of the U.S pop)
• +16% increase in Peace Day awareness “The McWhopper campaign is the single highest contributor ever towards Peace Day awareness” – McKinsey and Company – Peace One Day research partner
• +75% – Positive brand buzz from 20% to 35% / +60% millennials
• +25% – Purchase consideration from 32% to 40% / +76% millennials
• +48% – Likelihood to recommend brand: from 21% to 31% / +84% millennials


Y&R NZ, Auckland, New Zealand (Entrant Company)
Y&R NZ, Auckland, New Zealand (Advertising Agency)
Y&R MEDIA NZ , Auckland, New Zealand (Advertising Agency)
Y&R DIGITAL NZ, Auckland, New Zealand (Advertising Agency)
DAVID, Miami, USA (Advertising Agency)
Y&R MEDIA NZ , Auckland, New Zealand (Media Agency)
FLYING FISH, Auckland, New Zealand (Production Company)


Josh Moore / Y&R NZ- Chief Executive Officer, Chief Creative Officer
Tom Paine / Y&R NZ- Creative Director
James Wendelborn / Y&R NZ- Designer
Victoria Meo / Y&R NZ- Account Director
Jono Key / Y&R NZ- Head of Planning
Liz Rosby / Y&R NZ- Head Agency Producer
Nicky Greville / Y&R NZ- General Manager – Media
Sacha Moore / Y&R NZ- Agency Producer
Melissa Logan / Y&R NZ- Digital Producer
Marie-Claire Manson / Y&R NZ- Media Planner
Tom Paine / Y&R NZ- Creative
Fernando Machad / Burger King- SVP Global Brand Management

HANDO speaker

The 5th Malaysian Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) Conference is a full day journey into the minds of some of the sharpest and most inspiring minds in the business.

The market is in a state of flux. Media fragmentation has gone wild. Digital is exciting but also a minefield if handled wrong. Marketers need stamina, focus and a scalable approach to strategies. ROI has never been more confusing.

Hear from these dynamic and feisty brand leaders on how they are facing the New Realities:

• Loh Keh Jiat – CMO, Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd
• Raja Teh Maimunah Raja Abdul Aziz – MD & CEO, Hong Leong Islamic Bank Berhad
• Sulin Lau – Head of Marketing Services, Maxis
• Cyril Dhenaut – Head of Marketing, KFit
• Timothy Johnson – Senior VP of Marketing, INTI International University & Colleges
• Eric Wong – Marketing Director, IBM Malaysia
• Srikanth Ramachandran –
Executive Director, Moving Walls
• Spencer Lee – Head of Commercial, AirAsia Berhad
• Bala Pomaleh – CEO, IPG Mediabrands
• Rachel Lim – Co-Founder of Love, Bonito
• Edward Ling – Sales Manager, Waze Malaysia
• Santharuban T. Sundaram – Group Marketing Manager, Etika Holdings (formely Permanis)
• Dato Seri Vida – Founder, Pamoga & Qu Puteh

Date: September 6th, 2016 (Tuesday)

Venue: Sime Darby Convention Centre, Jalan Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.

For details, contact Ruby on 03-77262588, [email protected]

Download event PDF here

More details

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The APPIES is an annual event that presents a rare opportunity for creative, media, digital and marketing agencies or brands to present their best campaigns to the industry.

This is the only event where Live Presentations meets Live Judging.

Similar to TED Talks, The APPIES is the chance for great presenters with outstanding work to show it off to some of the industry’s most important industry leaders.

This year’s winners will receive Gold, Silver or Bronze trophies for 21 categories, and 6 special Best of Best categories (red trophies) that require no submissions!

Campaign entries must have run between June 2023 to May 2024

Submissions Deadline
30th June 2024

APPIES Festival – Judging & Presentations
11th – 12th July 2024 (Malaysia)


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