I’m Not So Lovin’ It: McDonald’s Boring-Ass Commercials
Let’s face it, McDonalds commercials are pretty boring these days – typically, they either trying to forcibly graft McDonalds food into some of the important moments of life (e.g., “newlyweds eat McDonalds as they paint their new apartment” or “Mom and daughter share a poignant moment over a value meal”), or else they show young, urban, ethnically diverse individuals enjoying some new abomination, like that Big Mac that comes as a wrap. It is all very thoroughly market-tested to give you that warm fuzzy feeling about your life and your Quarter Pounder (the exception, of course, is this bizarre ad pictured on the right).
McDonalds is in the business of making safe and dull commercials. And, frankly, based on their massive share of the fast food market, they can afford to do this. But things didn’t used to be this way. The following is a brief tour of Mcdonalds advertising in the past, as well as a few international ads that are a bit spicier than what we get in the states.
The first ad in our series maintains historical significance as it features an earlier, less refined version of Ronald Mcdonald, sort of a first draft, you might say. He is super creepy, far more so than the 70s/80s era Ronald that we all know and love. It doesn’t help that the ad keeps constantly referencing the fact that this crazy clown is essentially a stranger accosting a young child on the street and offering him food. Obviously, the ad wizards at McDonalds had a lot of work to do…..
Next up is the famous “rapping mcnuggets,” who will be familiar to anyone who watched TV for any period of time in the mid-80s. Here, the nuggets do some rhyming n’ scratching, then Ronald appears and gets down. It is not clear whether this is an attempt at “minority outreach” by McDonalds or if it was just cashing on the novelty of hip hop music to mainstream audiences in the 80s, or both. However, twenty years later, it looks pretty silly.
Next up is an ad for McDonalds “Kiwiburger,” presumably broadcast in New Zealand. I threw this one in here just because it is so unlike any other McDonalds ad I have ever seen. Basically, a collage of what appears to be images associated with New Zealand sports (cricket, sheepdog trials, etc.), as well as various food porn shots of the burger itself (which does not appear to contain kiwi fruit, as far as I can see). It also has a catchy jingle and thick New Zealand accent – all in all, pretty lively.
This ad is from the 70s, and has a sort of trippy “Alice In Wonderland” quality to it, i.e. two young children being escorted by Ronald through a colorful landscape of anthropomorphic trees and fields of burgers. Oh, did I mention that the accompanying jingle is a straight-up 60s-era psychedelic tune (think Donovan or Strawberry Alarm Clock). Far out…..
Try our Shamrock Shake, It’ll turn you Irish! My one comment is that I have replayed this many times and I absolutely cannot figure what is going on at the very end of this ad…..any ideas?
Finally, I posted this in an earlier post about food porn in fast food advertising, but I am re-posting because it is a perfect example of how international McDonalds commercials tend to be much spicier than our domestic ones. Also, this is for a Japanese sandwich called the “Tomato McGrand” – which appears to be a burger with twice as much tomato. Also its DEAD SEXY….