Bees are one of the only small, multi-legged animals that people genuinely seem to like. Unlike for the rest of the insect kingdom, the realisation that the world is an increasingly dangerous place to be a bee seems to convince everyone to become a buzzy eco-warrior. Consequently, bees now find themselves associated with a range of increasingly weird allies, each more unlikely than the last.
The latest to join the storied list of bee-fanciers is fast food mega-franchise McDonald’s. After launching the “world’s smallest McDonald’s” earlier this year, specifically to cater for miniature honey-making clientele, the Swedish branch of the business have decided to go one better, and convert their advertising billboards into multi-level bee hotels. Complete with multiple hives for extra accommodation, the structures are, in every sense, the ultimate beeNbee.
Check out the video for the bee hotel here:
The campaign has been created in conjunction with agency Nord DDB, who were also collaborators on the earlier “McHive” project. As the press release accompanying the announcement explains, "It is estimated that 30 percent of Sweden's wild bees are threatened. A big problem is that they lack places to rest." The hope is that these billboards can help support the struggling population.
The Nord DDB project has seen restaurants across the country convert their signs into homes fit for a queen. However, even though the bee hotels could already be seen as quite a drastic step, McDonald’s are not stopping there. Together with billboard brand JC Decaux, McDonald’s are helping set up hives in spaces that aren’t otherwise being used. As the campaign states:
"Bees are most comfortable if their nests are in a south facing position. The first test is now live in Jarfalla outside Stockholm, where six large bee hotels have been mounted on the backside of a north facing billboard with hopes of scaling up the initiative in spring 2020."
It might sound like cynical PR stunt, but it looks like McDonald’s is deadly serious about bee conservation. As Henrik Nerell, the environmental manager at McDonald’s, Sweden, explained:
"The survival of bees is an important issue for society as a whole. That we can use our signs for a good cause feels great. The initiative, which has sprung from our franchisees' personal commitment to the issue, has been made possible in collaboration with JCDecaux and we are proud and excited to welcome our flying guests soon as they move into our bee hotels."
Here’s hoping that the project is the start of something bee-autiful.