The Thinkboxes September/ October winner: McDonald’s ‘Passing By’ by Leo Burnett

 It takes a confident brand to com­mission an ad that celebrates its popularity and reminds people why they love it, but that is what McDonald’s did with ‘Passing By’. 

The ad, set to a poem, observes customers from all walks of life vis­iting a restaurant at varying times of the day and night, and highlights how they enjoy the experience.

It aims to show the emotional and practical roles the brand plays, with the message ‘There’s a Mc­Donald’s for everyone’. 

The ad’s simplicity and effective­ness have been recognised by Thinkbox’s Creative Academy of industry experts, who have named it the winner of the September/October Thinkboxes award.

Second place went to the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Fire Safety ad, ‘Breathe’, which aims to demon­strate the dire effects of smoke inhalation by comparing it to drowning. 

Third place went to Tesco Mo­bile’s ‘Freedom’, which takes a side­swipe at over-elaborate mobile phone ad campaigns and instead focuses on price.


We wanted [the ad] to be confident about our role in modern British life. We wanted it to be authorita­tive. It is the right time for the brand to be modern and creative.

Jill McDonald Chief Marketing Officer

Client Jill McDonald, chief marketing officer, McDonald’s; Ad agency Leo Burnett; Creative team Jim Bolton,Tony Malcolm, Guy Moore; Production Moxie Pictures; Director Neil Gorringe

Other ads on the podium

Department for Communities and Local Government: Breathe (2nd)

  • Creative agency RKCR/Y&R
  • Creative team Mike Boles, Jerry Hollens
  • Client David Watson
  • Production company Blink
  • Director Dougal Wilson

Tesco Mobile - Freedom (3rd)

  • Creative agency The Red Brick Road
  • Creative team Sam Cartmell, Jason Lawes
  • Client Ash Schofield
  • Production company MJZ London
  • Director Jim Gilchrist

Also shortlisted

DCSF- Help give them a voice

  • Creative agency COI
  • Creative team Kevin Colquhoun, Gregor Findlay
  • Client Karen Smalley
  • Production company COI
  • Director Ben Quinn

O2 Money: The Shop

Creative agency The Outfit
Creative team Niall Murdoch, Charlie Read
Client Will Kemble-Clarkson
Production company Academy

A view from a Thinkbox Academy member of this month's picks


It’s everything a great TV ad can be: engaging, insightful and gently persuasive. Here’s a brand that not only knows its audience but likes it too.

Laurence Green Founding partner, 101

Click here to see who won the previous award

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