Johnny Diaz writes in The Boston Globe that this summer, some Boston University students thought they were attending a morning lecture by a renowned cultural anthropologist in an advertising class. But the 14 students unknowingly became stars in a new McDonald’s TV commercial for iced and hot coffees, which will begin airing nationwide on Sept. 1.

The 30-second ad is similar in concept to those unscripted “Truth’’ national antitobacco ads that surprise people on the street and capture their raw reactions. McDonald’s wanted to use the stunt-style shooting concept to promote its breakfast and McCafe brands: The company used hidden cameras to get real student reactions to people showing up with a variety of McDonald’s coffee options during a long, morning class lecture.

“This is a new approach that we haven’t tried,’’ said Mark Carlson, senior creative director at McDonald’s. “Someone bringing you a fresh hot cup of coffee at 8 a.m. is the best environment to do this in.’’


Arnold Worldwide, a Boston advertising agency whose clients include McDonald’s and who developed those “Truth’’ ads, reached out to Boston University to use marketing and advertising students for the commercial. Officials at Arnold, which handles McDonald’s breakfast account, believed the ad could serve as a lesson for students.

“We were challenged with coming up with some morning advertising for McDonald’s which would focus on breakfast and McCafes, especially McCafes in the morning,’’ said Chris Edwards, executive vice president and group creative director at Arnold. “And we thought, ‘Oh God, those morning classes that you show up for and you’re half sleep and you could probably use a McCafe mocha.’ ’’

Read more at: The Boston Globe