Burrell Taps Directors Pytka, Giraldi for McDonald's

Burrell Taps Directors Pytka, Giraldi for McDonald's

Burrell Communications recently crafted two spots for McDonald’s with iconic directors Bob Giraldi and Joe Pytka. Driven by the directors’ distinctive cinematic styles and the agency’s sharply contrasting concepts, The Colonie’s creative editor, Bob Ackerman, wove together a pair of inspiring commercials with very different approaches to delivering a message about the power of community spirit.

Besides the Colonie, the two spots tapped Chicago companies like Mix Kitchen, Filmworkers, Nolo Digital and Jira Productions.

Watch 'Good Things' here and '40,000 Friends' here.

The Chicago-based agency’s concept for the spot, ‘40,000 Friends,’ is an uplifting story that chronicles a day in the life of Rick Smith, founder of #RAKE (Random Acts of Kindness,) and an individual who shares McDonald’s commitment to communities.

Giraldi’s documentary-style contrasts the gritty, impersonal feel of the city with the generous, open-heartedness of #Rake’s mission. Shot in one day at multiple locations throughout Los Angeles, the footage was then delivered to The Colonie in Chicago, where Ackerman cut a :60 and :30 version of the spot. Burrell team collaborated with the editor, along with Giraldi, who maintained communication with throughout the postproduction process.

40,000 FRIENDS

'40,000 Friends' opens with Rick, clad in a tee-shirt that reads, ‘RANDOM Acts of Kindness,’ and follows him through the city as he connects with a mix of people, giving each one something to enrich their day. The voiceover explains his mission: ‘It’s funny how the littlest things can change somebody’s day, perhaps even their life. My little thing started with a tweet and ended with a movement. Now I’m traveling with that movement across the country.’

Every act of goodwill is a personal triumph for Rick, fuelling his commitment to making a difference in the community - one person at a time - while encouraging others to ‘pay it forward.’ When a Tweet alerts him of a Pajama Drive, Rick heads for it, bringing a couple of bags of McDonald’s to help sustain the volunteers. The voiceover subtly makes the connection between his story and the brand: ‘Like Rick, McDonald’s knows what it means to be deeply rooted in communities everywhere.”


For ‘Good Things,’ Burrell takes a very differ approach with a story that opens with a group of African-American teenagers hanging out in on a city street corner, spray paint cans in hand. Acclaimed director Joe Pytka’s cinematic-style, and its unflinching, gritty urban realism establish the spot’s dark, foreboding tone - giving no hint of a potentially positive outcome. However, as the evening plays out, the scenario takes an optimistic turn as we see the group transforming negative graffiti into art that beautifies the community and sends an uplifting message. The teenagers put the finishing touches on a large mural of the city skyline, with the word “love” above it. Enjoying breakfast from McDonald’s becomes part of the celebration of their achievement - and the brand’s message: “When you’re deeply rooted in the community, you spread lovin’ where you live.”

“Much like any documentary-style film project, the editor’s role is to take the most meaningful moments and intertwine them into a story that engages and informs the viewer,” says Ackerman, who has worked with the agency on numerous McDonald’s campaigns and cut over a dozen spots directed by Pytka and Giraldi.

CREDITS: McDONALD’S / ’40,000 Friends’

CLIENT: McDonald’s

TITLE: ’40,000 Friends’ :60/:30

TYPE: Broadcast Commercial

Airdate: March 05 ,2016


Burrell Communications, Chicago

EVP/CCO: Lewis Williams

Producer: Shirley Portee

GCD: Lisa McConnell

ACD: Winston Cheung


Director: Bob Giraldi

DP: Adam Richards

Producer: J.P Greaney

EDITORIAL COMPANY: The Colonie, Chicago

Creative Editor: Bob Ackerman

Assistant Editor: Graham Chapman

Finishing: Tom Dernulc

Assistant Editor: Ben Pokorny

Design: Lyndsay McCully

Executive Producer: Mary Caddy


Colorist: Michael Matusek


Mixer: Sam Fishkin

Sound Designer:

MUSIC COMPANY: Jira Productions, Chicago

Composer: Ira Antellis

CREDITS: McDONALD’S: ‘Good Things’

Client: McDonald’s

Title: ‘Good Things’ :60

Agency: Burrell Communications, Chicago

EVP/CCO: Lewis Williams

Producer: Debra Dale,

Group Creative Director: Rebecca Williams

CD/Writer: Lisa McConnell

Associate CD/Art Director: Winston Chueng

Production Company: PYTKA

Director/DP:Joe Pytka,

Producer: Gretchen Siss

Editorial + VFX Company: The Colonie, Chicago

Creative Editor: Bob Ackerman

Finishing: Tom Dernuic

Executive Producer: Mary Caddy

Color Correction Company: Filmworkers Club, Chicago

Colorist: Michael Mazur

Audio/Sound Design Company: Mix Kitchen, Chicago

Mixer: Sam Fishkin,

Music: “Inner City Blues” performed by Marvin Gaye