Radar has ?a blast’ with Ronald McDonald on spot that departs from standard fare

Leo Burnett’s new national “Action Ronald” commercial is a departure for the brand in several ways. For one, the spot promotes an active, healthy life ? no stores, no food, no promotions. For another, this is the first time a national Ronald spot has been completely produced in Chicago.

The point of the spot is to convey that “life is an adventure, not a video game,” said Don Hoeg of Radar, which created and produced the “experimental mixed media” spot now airing.

He enthusiastically characterized the entire process, starting with the creative freedom Burnett gave Radar, as “a blast!”

Radar was ready to begin production May, but had to delay it until late June because of Ronald’s heavily-booked schedule. Hoeg directed the live action, which was shot on both Essanay stages, and utilized blue screens, harnesses, trampolines, fly rigs and treadmills, and even karate.

The Radar team spent the next three-and-a-half weeks “living and breathing” the job, working late nights and weekends to meet the deadlines. Burnett not only made no changes, but urged Radar to make each succeeding scene as cool as the one just filmed.

To the best of anyone’s recollection, “Active Ronald” marked the first time a national commercial revolving around L.A.-based Ronald had been entirely filmed in Chicago. Outside of the half-dozen L.A. experts (makeup, costume, hair, etc.) who regularly accompany Ronald, everyone else was local.

“Ronald was a blast to work with,” said Hoeg. “The kids couldn’t have cared less about being in a national commercial. The fact they got to meet Ronald was like Christmas ? and he delivered.”

For Burnett: John Montgomery, VP/ECD, art director/CD Keith Hughes, and producer Patrick Brennan. O’Connor Casting provided the 10 children and four adults (including JoBe Cerny as a postman). Music by Gary Fry.