Northwest Ohio McDonald’s signs featured in national adWritten by Tom Konecny | | email@example.com
Anyone watching the NFL playoffs or Golden Globes on Jan. 11 may have seen Northwest Ohio featured in a new McDonald’s national television ad.
The company’s latest ad campaign, titled “Every sign tells a story,” highlights various McDonald’s sign nationwide, directing viewers to learn more about the marquee messages at its Tumblr site. Signs from around America are shown, including Boston, Houston and Chicago, referencing national events like 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing and major floods, as well as local, private celebrations like wedding anniversaries.
TLS Incorporated, based in Fremont, owns and operates 11 Northwest Ohio McDonald’s restaurants, and had two of its signs featured in the spot.
“Actually, it’s just kind of funny – there are 14,000 McDonald’s nationwide and [the corporate office] had two of our messages up there,” said Luke Humbard, director of operations. “I was very excited to see it. It was great it made it there onto the campaign.”
One sign featured was the Manhattan Boulevard McDonald’s location in North Toledo with its marquee reading, “Keep Jobs In Toledo,” a message in support of Jeep. Humbard said he first posted that message within four days of Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s stunning news in October that Chrysler might move Jeep’s production from its Toledo plant, and the scrolling message has remained since.
“We have our Jeep rush every day when there’s a line change,” Humbard said. “Some of them are very loyal customers and you hear about possibly losing a line there, and some of those people could be out of a job.”
The Manhattan Boulevard location is the closest McDonald’s to the Jeep plant, and relies heavily on the patronage of Jeep workers, Humbard said.
“If that line left and wasn’t replaced by another line, it would definitely affect the community as a whole,” Humbard said. “There’s going to be a lot of businesses there that suffer. No one wants to see job loss in the community, and anytime that you see that in Northwest Ohio or Toledo, any loss of jobs it would be detrimental to us. It shows how important manufacturing is to the local economy.”
TLS’s Oak Harbor McDonald’s location also played a part in the national commercial with its sign from 2010 offering support of Elliston native Crystal Bowersox, an “American Idol” runner-up five years ago. The sign read “We believe in you Crystal,” and was featured about halfway through the 60-second ad.
The request for pictures came in an email from the McDonald’s corporate office in Oak Brook, Illinois, but Humbard said he had no idea it was for a national advertising campaign at the time.
“McDonald’s has always played a role in the community, in good times and bad, and that will only continue and grow,” said Phil Saken, communications manager for McDonald’s USA, in a company statement. “The powerful ‘Signs’ commercial has sparked commentary from consumers, and we’re happy to see that. It is part of our campaign to listen more and have a deeper conversation with our customers, and this ad is achieving that. We’ve seen some strong praise and some negative comments. We expect that, and we welcome it. We’ll continue to challenge ourselves to push boundaries in connecting with our customers.”
The ad was quickly discussed on social media, some calling it inspirational and uplifting, others saying that using national tragedies for an advertising message is in poor taste and insensitive.
Humbard said the corporate office always suggests a recommended message, but individual McDonald’s owners are free to post whatever they wish.
“We’ve always put up local messages,” Humbard said. “Sometimes if we have seniors in high school working for us, we’ll put up a graduation messages. Once we had an all-American basketball player working for us, we put her name up there once.”
Watch the ad: