“He’s Happy”, by Leo Burnett, is the latest advertisement for multinational burger dealer, McDonalds.
You can see the video here:
I don’t have a problem with McDonalds per se, not beyond the usual complaints a sane free thinker has with multinational corporations.
They are a respected local employer, I’ve known quite a few people pass through their back doors and onto greater things – soon disappointed with the way ordinary companies treat their staff.
Nor do I have a problem with filming in Huddersfield. A good many TV programmes have been filmed in Huddersfield and its environs. My other half was recently involved as an extra in a soon to be released horror film and who can forget such classics as Last of The Summer Wine (and the short lived prequel series First of the Summer Wine) or Wokenwell (which featured the greatest real ale pub in the world, The Sair Inn, and its landlord as the local pub/landlord).
Even I have dabbled in filming in Huddersfield as this footage of the annual Zombie Slouch can attest (That’s my as the zombie corporate at the start) …
Forgetting the lead actor’s lack of a Huddersfuddlian accent and his obsession with singing in a style blander than Coldplay (afterall, I’m not the most ecxciting singer and have been accused of being a geordie before); the route he takes is absolutely wrong.
Not just wrong but genuinely cockamamie.
I’ve included a rough version of the route I believe the chap to have taken, it is in red on the small map to the right.
I have annotated keystages in Douchy McBurger-Singer’s journey as steps 1 through 7 and will explain my reasoning below.
There has obviosuly been an amount of airbrushing, sign changing and a large variety of props used but the key staging is Huddersfield through and through – even if the journey a little disjointed.
Step 1 – Setting Out
Our intrepid burgerphile sets out at the beginning of the advert from what I take to be the “Goods Inward” section of Tescos in Huddersfield.
He heads towards the viaduct with such delights as Gringos to the right of him.
He could save himself the hassle of a Big Mac, right now, by just heading staright to Gringos or one of the many other restaurants under the viaduct but obviously this man craves the addictive flavour of McDonalds’ finest.
So enraptured is he with his desire for cow’s flesh and gherkin, he forgets that McDonalds is actually in the other direction!
Step – 2 – Don’t H8 the Sk8r
It is evident from the video that our hero crosses the road at this point. probably more than once, as it is easier to cross the main road to The Sportsman and then a side street to carry on under another part of the viaduct.
Our fun loving vocalist now turns back on himself and is finally heading in the direction of McDonalds.
The video now shows our meek voiced protagonist almost run down by a skateboarder.
If you’ve ever walked that path, having any knowledge of boarding, you’ll appreciate that the boarder must have some sort of death wish.
The pathing under that lime-stained viaduct is not cut out for boarding.
Having survived the skater, Super-Size-Me-Dave now carries on passed the George Hotel (Birthplace of Rugby League) and crosses back over the road.
Step 3 – Turning Back
Almost at McDonalds he must be struck by some nightmare vision of arteries clogged with cholesterol and decided to turn back, away from the Golden Arches and towards a healthier world, full of salad and muesli.
In fact, he’s probably popped into Wall of Sound before turning back; desperate for inspiration on improving his singing style.
In the video, Bob’s is renamed “TJ’s Taxis” and appears to have expanded to include the entrance to Huddersfield’s seediest pornogrpahic cinema (truthfully, its only pornographic cinema but bear with me… narrative people, narrative) the Empire Cinema Club.
Weaselbits now has the longest sing-a-long a walk he has ever had to perform.
We next see him outside a laundrette – a laundrette in Fartown.
Step 4 – Fartown
In the recent national riots, certain residents of neighbouring Sheepridge were arrested on their trek through Fartown on their way to loot Huddersfield.
Marching through Birkby, into Fartown and then behind the laundrette, we see our Jolly Jack-Tar singing along as he passes the front of the laundrette and on his way back down Bradford Road and into Huddersfield.
Step 5 – The Saw
His point of entry could be anywhere from the back door to the Kingsgate carpark to the route round the KIngsgate and onto Zetland Street.
He picks up a paper from a news-vendor selling “The Daily News” rather than “The Huddersfield Examiner” from outside a newsagents that is actually Age Concern.
He then crosses a fake zebra crossing towards a long standing hardware shop with a huge circular saw blade hanging above it’s window. Oh, and the safety fencing could be fake also… i might be wrong but google maps backs me up.
At this point he could turn right and have a meal at Huddersfield’s greatest alternative venue, “The Parish”.
Step 6 – The Street Market
This too has obviously been faked/set-up and I have spent some time trying to identify the locale.
On my route, I mark this as being up past Coffee Evolution (another place he could stop for sustenance – they do a great Iced Latte), bar Vox (an awesome selection of beers) and Something Wicked (Hi Frodo) but it could be anywhere.
It has been suggested that it is Lockwood’s Yard but I am yet to check this out.
I’m yet to identify it, if you know where this is, please comment below or drop me a line as it has me stumped.
It is obviously busy, far busier than any Huddersfield yard or side street is normally, so McDonalds must have paid a lot for extras – my other half will be upset that the extra roles weren’t advertised throughthe normal channels.
Our happy-clapper now seems to be even more motivated, sensing an end to his journey.
Step 7 – The Final Destination
His smile to the lady, sat in the dingiest corner of McDonalds, is not aimed at her but merely an pavlovian reaction in anticipation of the salt and grease soon to wash down Sammy-Sing-a-long’s throat.
Being a cosmopolitan lady, she is enjoying a coffee or tea having finished a light repaste of McDonalds Deli Wrap or something like that.
Fresh and inviting, the store does not seem to have its usual coagulation of teenagers hanging around outside; nor does it have local tramp “Fury” begging for cash to buy cheap booze at the nearby wetherpsoons.
It may seem that I have a jaded view of this particular McDonalds and I suppose I do to some degree.
Given the choice I will eat almost anywhere other than this venue, mainly due to it being clogged with ASBOs-Waiting-To-Happen.
I am pleased that this national advert has been filmed in Huddersfield though.
I love Huddersfield, for all its failings, and will always have a soft spot in my heart for it.* I say “local” as if it actually is. The Examiner does have offices in Huddersfield and even employs local journalists; but whenever you want to do something local, like look for or advertise a job you discover that the paper actually appears to run out of Merseyside. Which is great if you want a job in Liverpool… or want to employ scousers.