CHICAGO—Being a good husband isn’t just
about remembering to buy flowers on birthdays and anniversaries. It’s also
about simple, everyday gestures, like getting out of bed early to bring
breakfast for your hungry spouse.
A new spot for McDonald’s, directed by STORY’s Blair
Hayes,  follows a man as he rises before
the crack of dawn, makes a quick run to the drive-through window at McDonald’s
and then heads out on the freeway. When he pulls up to a tollbooth, he
surprises the attendant by handing her the bag containing an Egg McMuffin. It
turns out, she is his even earlier rising spouse.
Hayes relates the narrative through simple but artfully
constructed scenes and uses just two brief snippets of dialogue to tell the
story. The look on the woman’s face when she recognizes her husband suggests
they’ve been together for years. The product’s presence in the story is
unobtrusive and natural.

Hayes, who just finished directing the independent feature A Teacher’s
and is currently prepping his next movie, Great Plains¸
says his recent long-form experience carried over to the ad . “When the commercial opens, there’s no
music, no soundtrack. It’s under-lit, very cinematic,” he says. “There’s
nothing to suggest that it’s a commercial. I looked at it as storytelling.”
Hayes coached his actors to avoid commercial clichés and
give more nuanced and emotionally weighty performances. The director adds that
the agency deserves credit for a concept built on authenticity and a subtle
product message. “Leo Burnett came up with a terrific idea…the things we do for
our spouses,” he says. “It was a perfect story to tell in 30 seconds.”
STORY is represented on the East Coast by Elyse Emmer  (212) 580-8568; in the Midwest by Melissa
Thornley (312) 752-5369, in the Southeast by Miller + Associates, (954)
563-6004; in the Southwest by Gossip!, (214) 288-2813 and on the West Coast by Yvette Lubinsky, (310) 827-2626.
For more
information, visit
Title:  Early Riser
Client: McDonald’s
Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago
Production: STORY. Blair Hayes, Director/Director of
Photography; Mark Androw and Cliff Grant, Executive Producers.
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