Are the three little lines in the corner of every website actually a Big Mac? – McDonald’s Finland claims they are.

McDonald’s Finland has put forward a theory about the digital menu icon which can be found in the corner of most websites. The three-lined icon resembles a hamburger, and not just any hamburger – it has the exact shape of McDonald’s iconic triple-decker burger Big Mac. In a new mockumentary, viewers can follow along as two amateur sleuths try to get to the truth behind the universally known ‘hamburger menu’ symbol.

When browsing around on any website today it is hard to not notice a three-layered menu button in the top corner which is strikingly similar to the shape of a hamburger. The symbol is even called a ‘hamburger menu’ and was created by the American interaction designer Norm Cox in 1981. Now McDonald’s Finland claims that it is just not any hamburger that stood as inspiration for the menu icon but the restaurant chain’s very own Big Mac.

In a 20-minute-long mockumentary named ‘The Icon’, hobby detectives Kaitsu and Anna- Maija dig deep into the history of the symbol and enthusiastically try to piece the puzzle together and uncover the truth about the hamburger menu. Kaitsu and his cameraman Johan even travel to Dallas, Texas, to meet Cox to confront him about his design in person.

“We see the three-lined hamburger button on almost every website, but which hamburger is it really?! Once you see it is a Big Mac, it is hard to unsee it. It’s funny how the mockumentary also describes the whole process of how we came up with the idea in the first place. This project has been all about curiosity and to keep pushing the idea even further”, says Tero Ahonen, copywriter at NORD DDB Helsinki.

The campaign lives on YouTube but the mockumentary has also been cut down to shorter episodes and trailers which will run on TikTok, in TV and cinema. To create engagement in relevant communities, Finnish TikTok profiles such as Joona Puhakka, Alsutiikeri and Johannes Mollberg are sharing about the theory in their channels and a few conspiracy- themed podcasts are also making episodes about the topic.

Additionally, McDonald’s Finland will invite everyone to take part in a treasure hunt for hamburger menu icons. People who find the iconic symbol on a website and submit it in the McDonald’s app will be rewarded with a free Big Mac burger.

“Our goal was to create brand love and fandom, so we aimed to create a campaign which felt like it was made by, and for, the fans. Considering the wide audience, we implemented a full 360 approach – from TikTok to TV – to reach various target groups”, says Mats Nyström, marketing director at McDonald’s Finland.

The main character Kaitsu also has his own TikTok [@thebigmactheory] and Instagram [@bigmactheory] accounts where he vlogs about his and his partner’s findings and the whole journey to Texas to meet Norm Cox.

“The brief from McDonald’s was to create brand love and fandom using the brand’s Big Mac. We quite literally saw an opportunity to underline the burger’s icon status by showing that it is on most of the websites – also known as the hamburger menu button. We wanted to have an organic approach to this idea, to make it be about McDonald’s without it feeling like it was from McDonald’s. And what would be more of an organic approach than having a conspiracy theorist spread the word around the world?” says Kalle Wallin, creative director at NORD DDB Helsinki.

Link to ‘The Icon’ mockumentary:

Link to Kaitsu’s TikTok: thebigmactheory

Link to McDonald’s Finland’s TikTok: mcdonaldssuomi

Link to Kaitsu’s Instagram: bigmactheory

Source: NORD DDB Helsinki

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