Chicago's Laser Fries

Chicago's Laser Fries

McDonalds installs light-powered billboard in River North
Most advertisements wash right over us. It's not that they're poorly designed; in fact, they're meant to blend into the background. Simply creating brand familiarity remains at the top of many ad designer's goal list. See a logo everywhere and you're more likely to trust that logo when making a purchasing decision at the grocery store. It's not something we're conscious of, particularly--we don't actively consider how often we've seen a particular graphic when comparing two brands of sugarless gum--but it does subliminally affect us every day. Ads make up the fabric of our consumer choices without our really noticing it.
 
Then there are the ads which aren't content to be wallpaper, subtly influencing people from under the surface of their subconscious mind. These are the brash, outgoing, unrelenting ads, the ones that stand out, the ones that like the attention. They're the ones that make up the geography of urban landscapes. Sometimes you even forget they're ads just because you're too concerned with how awesome they are. Boston has its Hood blimp, New York has its Times Square, and now Chicago has its sky fries.
 
You might not expect the latest laser-powered advertisement in a hip neighborhood of the Windy City to come from McDonalds, but there you go. The burger chain has just installed a new billboard that shoots yellow beams of light up into the sky. The billboard itself looks like a package of fries, and so the lights stand in for the fried potato slivers themselves. I'm not big on McDonalds but I actually appreciate that they're putting some aesthetic consideration into this one move instead of just brashly trying to sell me things I don't want to eat in the first place.
 
The ad was designed by the Leo Burnett agency and is currently located in the River North area of downtown Chicago. Apparently the beams can be seen for three miles in every direction. So if you and your friends are stumbling around the city late at night on an empty stomach, you'll at least have a beacon towards the nearest cheap fast food joint. Everyone else will just have to put up with the latest addition to Chicago's light pollution problem. Hey, at least it looks cool, even if it is only part of a larger campaign trying to convince us all that no one in the world makes better fries than McDonalds. Maybe no one else makes better laser beams resembling fries; I'll give them that.