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McDonald's new ad wants you to Google Coke

Commentary: A new ad featuring Mindy Kaling doesn't even mention McDonald's. What is going on?

2 min read

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McDonald's screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

What is it with these burger companies?

Last week, Burger King thought it was very clever by setting off Google Home devices by uttering "OK Google" during an ad. Google disabled the functionality. Burger King tried to re-enable it.

Now it's McDonald's turn. It's just released an ad featuring Mindy Kaling. The ad doesn't mention "McDonald's." But you know whom it's for. It has a red background and she's wearing a yellow dress. It's thoughtful they didn't ask her to wear a clown suit.

The ad features Kaling telling viewers to Google the place where Coke tastes so good.

I hadn't been aware that Coke tastes good anywhere, save, perhaps, in a large glass of rum. When I searched for "that place where Coke tastes so good," I got lots of things about the ad.

Is this some sort of existentialist art? Or is this merely pointless and annoying? You, discerning consumer of all things, must decide.

Kaling herself played along with the attempt at humor. "I partnered with a brand w/o being able to say the name of the brand. Is that normal? If so, can I be paid in fries?," she tweeted. She also linked to another ad in this series, featuring a so-called beverage technician.

McDonald's didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on what it's trying to achieve here.

The company did tell the New York Times that it's not gaming Google, but rather working with Google to see whether anyone will bother searching for something to which they know the answer, given that this is obviously a McDonald's ad.

A caustic viewer might suggest that if you have to advertise the Coke, you aren't terribly confident in your burgers. Indeed, McDonald's faces competition from restaurants which some believe serve better quality burgers.

Why, I just Googled "better quality burgers." The first link is to an article about how Burger King is better than, oh, McDonald's.

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