The 9 Most Awful McDonalds Commercials Ever Made
If you’ve watched even an hour of television in your life, then you’ve probably been subjected to a McDonalds commercial. Most are merely annoying, but some reach levels of lunacy that few can recover from. We’re not talking about Mayor McCheese and the Fry-Guys weird here?that stuff was made to be weird and wacky. This, rather, is Crispin Glover weird?stuff that’s just off without even trying. This list of ads takes you on a chronological journey through the star-studded, sometimes racist madness that is the last half-century of McDonalds propaganda.
9) Before the Rickroll
Never gonna give you up, McRib. Yes, the ?90s were a confusing time for us all. Thank god we had all that harmonica music.
8) Birdie and the Black Ronald
No, that’s not the title of the sitcom that followed Chico and the Man?it’s a McDonalds ad from the late ?80s notable for two failed experiments. One was an obviously African-American Ronald McDonald, which isn’t so much wrong as it is odd, like if Captain Crunch was suddenly drawn as Chow Yun-Fat from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. And the other was Birdie, a failed character in the McDonaldland cast. McDonalds claims that Birdie is still around, but it’s telling that Birdie disappeared at around the same time that the McChicken sandwich came into being.
7) It’s Mac Tonight!
The late 80s was apparently a good time for the great taste of McDonalds. Or at least for this illogical new McDonalds character “Mac Tonight” to come out, do a little ivory-tickling, a little crooning, a little?WHAT THE FUCK, IS THAT A MOON SINGING? IS HE WEARING A LIBERACE SUIT? IS THAT CLOCK GIVING BIRTH TO FRIES AND BURGERS? YOU TOLD ME THIS WAS THE GOOD ACID
6) Woman Very Excited to Give You a Free Mug (and a Song)
These mugs were ubiquitous back in the ?70s and ?80s, lingering sadly in offices and breakrooms where they’d been abandoned by people who realized “hey, just how often am I planning on going to sit down and enjoy a mug of coffee at McDonalds, anyhow?” Eventually, they were collected and put into a giant landfill, along with the massive stacks of Styrofoam breakfast containers, that eventually created the island-nation we now know as Sri Lanka. Another reason this campaign failed was that this was attempted back when McDonald’s coffee sucked. Not even Grimace would touch the stuff, and that fat purple bastard wasn’t choosy.
5) People Are Idiots or Paid Actors
The Big Mac Song, which people still know today even though this ad campaign hasn’t been seen on-air since the ?70s, was one of those manufactured phenomena that ads can sometimes pull off. The annoying thing about this ad is how transparent the “real people” are. If you’re going to hire actors, hire good ones. I want to smack everyone in this ad, and it has nothing to do with their ability to say “two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.” Act better.
4) Corey Feldman Screws Santa
This 1975 ad for McD’s focuses on their onetime campaign for McDonalds Gift Certificates. You have to hand it to McDonalds?they were decades ahead of the “gift card” scam. These coupons were pushed at Halloween for trick or treat, at Easter and Christmas for presents, pretty much all the time. And as the ad says, they were a fantastic deal: “each is worth 50 cents?and a book of ten is only five dollars!” Yeah, that’s not an offer. That’s basic math, fuckwit.
3) McDonald’s Star-Studded Janitorial Services
This early ?70s ad was probably designed to let people know that the old drive-in joints were changing over to what were then new brown-brick eat-in establishments. But it’s ironic, given the state of most McDonalds today, that they’d design an entire song-and-dance ad around how clean the place is?not to mention staffed almost entirely by men in their 40s. And what a cast it is?that’s Robert Ridgely (late veteran character actor, but most recently the Colonel from Boogie Nights) on the “burger machine”; Johnny Haymer (Sgt. Zale from MASH) working the mop; Broadway star (and frequent guest on The Brady Bunch) John Wheeler as the manager; and John Amos (Good Times and Roots) as “token black guy.? And they do it all for you.
2) Don’t Talk to Strangers, Unless They Give You Free Meat
Continuing with the pedophilia theme in early McDonalds advertising, this one actually addresses the “don’t talk to strangers” rule, but then discounts it completely since he gives the boy four hamburgers. Remember kids, if a stranger talks to you, run away. But if that stranger is a clown wearing garbage all over his body, and produces meat products from a tray situated near his crotch, then he’s Ronald McDonald. Trust him implicitly. “I know, you’re not supposed to accept gifts from strangers either?” Ronald says with that empty, menacing grin?but the boy is his. Four hamburgers?the price of innocence in the 1950s.
1) The Beginning
This is it?the very first McDonalds TV ad. And oh my god is it frightening. Who in the hell had the bright idea to dress up Ronald McDonald in McDonalds post-consumer waste?like he was a vagrant clown climbing out of the dumpster? Viewing this ad should require a dosage of anti-psychotics. And yes, that’s Willard Scott as Ronald, saying things like “I like to do whatever boys and girls like to do.” What is that, exactly? Some pedophile mantra? Or is it just that the ad geniuses couldn’t come up with actual examples of what kids liked to do, so they just had Ronald enjoy “generic fun things??