Whether we admit it or not, at times, there’s a grinch in every one of us. The Cambridge Dictionary defines this term as “a person who does not like other people celebrating or enjoying themselves, especially a person who does not like Christmas.” Maybe this happens because there’s pressure to make this festivity “the most wonderful time of the year,” which can be overwhelming for some of us. But if even Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch understood how Christmas works, that it isn’t just about presents, it means we have a chance, right? Seeing that people continue to celebrate even though he stole their Christmas, the Grinch’s heart begins to grow. He finally cares!

Similar feelings (not to steal Christmas but to not cooperate in creating a festive spirit as cheerful as possible) spin around Tom, McDonald’s protagonist of the “Inner Child” campaign, imagined by Leo Burnett and directed by Againstallodds from Passion Pictures. The 2020 Christmas ad follows the story of a teenager who refuses to let his inner child define him. He faces an internal struggle between who he was and who he wants to be. Teen Tom is unresponsive to his mom and her attempts to involve him in the Christmas activities. However, his inner child says otherwise. But if Grinch’s heart could be melted, so can Tom’s, who begins to listen to his inner child at the sight of the Reindeer Treats, which he and his mom picked up at McDonald’s.

Throughout the day, Tom’s grumpy side vanishes and he no longer battles between his inner child and his teen version, learning that he can embrace both. He even suggests leaving the Reindeer Treats from McD for Santa, proving that he is finally #ReindeerReady. Chaka Sobhani, CCO at Leo Burnett, said: “Tom and his mum perfectly demonstrate the truth of the teenage/child conflict that we can all relate to, and ultimately the magic of Christmas in bringing people closer together. After all, if you can’t be ‘forever young’ at Christmas, when can you be?”

The campaign launch also marks the fast-food chain’s pledge to provide millions of meals to families in need via a partnership with FareShare. Earlier this year, when the world went through the first lockdown phase, the brand donated over 400,000 tons of food to FareShare, food Drop, and other charities. “In a year like no other, I am proud that we can stand together with organizations like FareShare and the End Child Food Poverty Task Force to support those in greatest need. Together with our franchisees, we will provide funding to the charity to enable them to redistribute over five million meals to vulnerable families,” Paul Pomroy, Chief Executive Officer, McDonald’s UK and Ireland, said.

As part of their festive initiative, McDonald’s will also launch the #ReindeerReady Hub, an online platform featuring activities for kids, competitions, and an audiobook giving more details about Tom’s story. What’s new this year is that the platform englobes a social AR game, developed by The Marketing Store, where families can get #ReindeerReady with Tom by catching Reindeer Treats and avoiding Brussel sprouts. All of these virtual surprises will be unlocked via a QR code featured on the packaging of the McDonald’s Christmas Menu.


Client: McDonald’s

Agency: Leo Burnett

McDonald’s Brand Team

Vice President of Marketing: Michelle Graham-Clare

Marketing and Food Director: Steve Howells

Marketing Manager: Hannah Pain

Senior Brand Manager: Hollie Subhan

Brand Manager: Anna Kerr

Campaign Assistant: Chansey White


Creative agency: Leo Burnett

CCO: Chaka Sobhani

Creative Director: James Millers & Andrew Long

Creative Team: Steph Ellis & Rory Hall

Head of Planning: Tom Sussman,

Planning Director: Joe Beveridge

Planner: Thomas Schofield

Business Lead: Bethany Watts

Account Team: Steph Bates, Laura Taylor, Alice Pavey, Annie Flood

Project Director: Emily Green

Head of TV Production: Graeme Light

Media Buying Agency: OMD


Production company: Passion Pictures

Director: Againstallodds

Exec Producer: Debbie Crosscup

Head of Production: Mike Turoff

Producer: Matt Saxton

Production Assistant: Honor Martin, Nefeli Petika

CG Co-ordinators: Emma Rider

Head of CG: Jason Nicholas

CG Supervisor: Stuart Hall

Animation Supervisor: Wesley Coman

Character Design: Againstallodds, Juan Useche

Background Design: Alejandro Diaz, Jules Durand

Research & Development: Ronnie Mitchell

Boardomatic / Animatic: Againstallodds

PREVIZ: George Rigby, Wesley Coman

Editing: Againstallodds, Kingley Bailey, Christina Conradi, Tim King

Layout: David Burtle, Jason Nicolas

Modelling (character): Mattias Bjurstrom, Filippo Bovolini, Florent Rousseau

Modelling (environment): Florent Rousseau, Jack Enever, Maryka Laudet, Quentin Camus, Camille Jalabert

Texturing: James Nardelli, Maryka Laudet, Quentin Camus, Jose Hernandez, Francois Pons, Camille Jalabert, Fanny Teisson, Interference Pattern, Jack Enever

Texturing Characters: Eva Prado

Rigging: Victor Vinyalls, Mattias Bjurstrom, Arthur Ranson, Sarah Forest

Hair Groom: Keyvan Leriche

Animation: Wesley Coman, George Rigby, Alan Person, Lucas Pratdesaba, Francisco Garcia, Jordi Girones

SFX & SIM: Colin Perrett, Kwai Ip, Derlene Buttner, Tyler Daniells , Stephane Daguin

Lighting & Rendering: Howard Bell, Jose Hernandez, Francois Pons, Ian Beresford, Stuart Hall

Compositing: Sam Meisels, Daniel Lopez, Flavio Kawamoto

Matte / Background Painting: Sam Klughertz


Post-Production: Framestore

Passion Pipeline TD: Javier Edo, Tony Ambles

IT Support / Engineering: Tim Wharton, Daniel Borg, Thomas Lynch



Account Team: Amy Lea, Laurence Ruthven, Eleonora Sceusi

Media Planners: Jamie Callaghan, Becky France

Media Buyers: Alex Neary, Alex D’Albertanson


The Marketing Store:

Digital Creative Director: Darren Groucutt

Creative Technology Director: Hils Jakison

Senior Creative: Mark Kelly

Senior Creative: Vanessa Tucker

Digital Designer: Jade Wilson

Account Team: Emily Duggan, Alice Napier, Madhushri Nadgir