Copyranter: An imagined conversation from inside the McDonald’s tagline bunker

McDonald’s just trademarked “The Simpler The Better” as a possible new tagline. The move was met with much confusion. Late in 2014, it trademarked “Lovin’ Beats Hatin’,” which was met with much derision.

One can only imagine what these tagline meetings have been like. So let us imagine, shall we? Here’s an entirely made-up transcript of the latest conversation, probably held inside a soundproof subterranean room at the fast feeder’s Oak Brook, Illinois headquarters.

The cast of characters: McDonald’s Chief Communications Officer Robert Gibbs, Leo Burnett CCO Mark Tutssel … and a completely fictional but highly probable wispy 26-year-old Burnett digital copywriter with a manbun named “Jayden.”

These are the edited highlights of the wholly fabricated braindrizzle:


Gibbs, Barack Obama’s press secretary during his first term, was hired to turn around McDonald’s lagging sales, as millennials spurned burgers for Chipotle’s burritos.

10:07 a.m.

GIBBS: OK, this tagline clusterfuck has gone on way too long. We look indecisive, and I refuse to look indecisive.

TUTSSEL: We’ll solve it, Bob, right here, right now.

GIBBS: Who the Hell is this pretty boy?

TUTSSEL: Jayden! Introduce yourself…

JAYDEN: Hello sir, I’m Jayden. I write some of your tweets. I wrote that tweet that had people staring at sesame seeds trying to find their face on the bu…

Tutssel has been Leo Burnett’s CCO since 2005.

GIBBS: [Interrupts] Did it go … [makes quote marks with his hands] “viral”?

JAYDEN: It got 70 retweets…

GIBBS: Which equals how many burgers?

JAYDEN: I’m sorry?

GIBBS: Mark, please explain Jayden’s presence.

TUTSSEL: Bob, he is the most millennial creative at our agency. You want millennials; Jayden has his finger on the elusive Gen Y pulse.

GIBBS: I’d like to kill all the goddamn millennials and start over with Gen Z.

[TUTSSEL and Jayden awkwardly chuckle]

This image is up conference room screen.

TUTSSEL: OK. So these are all the taglines you’ve registered?

GIBBS: Hell no. We’ve also registered these [hands out a handout].


TUTSSEL: “Simply Better” is real nice, Bob. It’s better than “The Simpler The Better.” It’s a direct benefit statement, and it jives with your new upcoming reduced menu.

GIBBS: I wrote “The Simpler The Better” …

TUTSSEL: [Nervously] Well they’re both damn fine lines…

12:15 p.m.

[The group breaks for lunch. Angus bacon cheeseburgers are served. Jayden is a vegan. He takes very small bites.]

12:32 p.m.

JAYDEN [After puking in the men’s room]: Mr. Gibbs, I have some taglines that I think will click with my generation.

GIBBS: Let’s see em’, son.


GIBBS: Interesting, interesting. We thought we had you whiny-ass millennials with Lovin’ Beats Hatin’, but, boy, did we shit the bed. I kind of like YASSS! — even though it has “ASS” in it. Three S’s is best, you think?

JAYDEN: Yes, sir, I researched it, that’s how it’s mostly spelled.

GIBBS: What the Hell are Teeks?

JAYDEN: Uh, basically anybody over 40, Mr. Gibbs.

TUTSSEL: (Nervously) Jayden was joking with that one, Bob. I kinda like “Perf” myself.

GIBBS: That’s short for perfect, right?

[Both Burnett men, smiling, nod heads vigorously]

GIBBS: Well, this has gone well. I’m gonna run both tags up the flagpole here, and we’ll see how people react.

TUTSSEL: Thank you, Robert! Please let me know if you need any more tags, or anything else.

GIBBS [stops Jayden in his tracks]: Son, trust me, you just gotta cut that danish off the top of your head.

So, Millennials—which tag do you prefer?

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