Creative head at DDB Mudra Pallavi Chakravarti takes LBB’s Zoe Antonov behind the scenes of the heart-warming EatQual campaign
A collaboration between DDB Mudra and McDonald’s India (West and South) sees one of the first steps of the EatQual campaign, which promises to advance equality and inclusion across the McDonald’s brand. A heart-warming brand film accompanies the launch of new packaging, inclusive for all and shows audiences what it truly means to live life in someone else’s shoes, where everything is flipped upside down. Aiming to do some groundwork towards stripping the stigma of disabilities in the industry, the new EatQual campaign has started with brand new packaging, that makes the eating of a burger simple for those with limited upper limb mobility. Pallavi Chakravarti, creative head at DDB Mudra, spoke to LBB’s Zoe Antonov to tell her more about the true importance of inclusivity, not only in media, but in the real world, and how it has to change to level the playing ground for all.
Promoting inclusion and inclusivity across all platforms has been on the frontlines of the ad industry in the past years, for good reason. With people not only holding each other accountable, but also holding their favourite brands at a higher standard through social media, many conversations that have in the past been swept under the rug, have surfaced and are here to stay. McDonald’s India (West and South) has proven its commitment to fostering inclusion through various campaigns, the latest one being its inclusivity platform EatQual in collaboration with DDB Mudra. The platform aims to create an inclusive experience at all McDonald’s restaurants through small innovations that make the McDonald’s experience available and comfortable to people with limited upper limb mobility.
So many of us are painfully used to grabbing a quick bite at a fast food chain, opening a pack of crisps, shaking a salad box during lunch break – all mundane and auto-piloted actions that don’t require a second thought. Through the EatQual platform, DDB Mudra and McDonald’s India aimed to show audiences that it’s exactly those auto-piloted actions that can make or break a day for any person with a disability. In a world tailored to the abled, the brand took an active step to launch meaningful initiatives aimed at promoting inclusion not only across disabilities but also gender and languages, through small innovations that might be unnoticeable for some of us but are crucial for others. One of these innovations involves the McDonald’s EatQual packaging, which addresses one of the many challenges that people with limited upper limb mobility face on an everyday basis. Pallavi Chakravarti, creative head at DDB Mudra, explained that the EatQual initiative first launched in 2020, with ‘the overarching aim of making the McDonald’s experience truly equal for everyone.’ The innovative packaging idea, being the first step towards this ultimate goal, enables everybody to ‘eat a burger with dignity.’
“The EatQual pack can be easily opened and comfortably held even with one hand, doing away with the mess and awkwardness that would otherwise accompany the experience,” shares Pallavi. The EatQual brand film portrays a boy attempting various day-to-day activities, from hobbies such as playing the guitar and crafting, to eating and performing crucial tasks, all without using one of his hands. The campaign shines a light on the curiosity and frustration of a child, who gets increasingly exasperated with his limitations in performing each task – not surprisingly, due to the inability to use both hands. At the end of the day, we see him meet his friend who has only one upper limb, bearing gifts – two burgers – one with regular packaging, and one with the EatQual packaging. The film closes with both of them biting into the burger, with his friend being able to hold and enjoy the burger with ease.
“Our plan this year was to continue to promote awareness about this pack, so that more and more people can avail of it. The platform of EatQual is one that will diversify and strengthen with every passing year – but we were all clear that everything we do under the EatQual umbrella should benefit as many as possible – therefore, the brand and agency team were unanimous in their decision to take the same idea into the second year of the initiative and drive home another compelling message through it,” says Pallavi. The message is simple – the world we live in is designed primarily for the able-bodied. There are only a handful of precious experiences one can share with a friend who has any disability, and the EatQual platform aims to change that. “It takes something as small as this pack to break the ice, find common ground and make for a level playing field for both boys in the film.”
When it comes to the representation of disabilities, Pallavi feels that before the media takes on representation, the world itself needs to change and become more friendly to people with disabilities. “How often do we see people in wheelchairs in a movie hall? Or someone with upper limb disabilities in a supermarket?” All very valid questions. “If inclusion becomes par for the course rather than an afterthought, the representation in media will automatically witness a change and conversations around the subject will normalise. Creativity can open one’s mind, spark a thought, reduce a stigma and stimulate a debate – but on-ground implementation is where change will truly be affected.”