McDonald's Ad Campaigns Through The Years
As we here at I-Mockery have shown you before, McDonald's has had its share of poorly conceived advertising campaigns over the years, clearly indicating that whatever ad agency they use just doesn't "get it" as far their efforts to be "hip" and appeal to the youth of the world are concerned. With that in mind, I decided to go back and take a look at some of their other advertising campaigns over the years, and I've compiled the best ones here to share with you:
With absolutely no raw sewage (1974)
After the fast food sewage scare of the early 70s, McDonalds decided to take a firm stand and assure the nation of its commitment to health. Featuring then McDonalds CEO Herbert Flabblejacks instead of kid-friendly favorite Ronald McDonald in this commercial, he sat behind his desk and reassuringly explained to the viewer that they had taken great steps to ensure that absolutely no raw sewage would be getting into any of their burgers, no sir. He ended the commercial by smiling warmly and stating "that's the McDonald's promise!", and in the closing seconds he picked up a burger sitting on his desk and brought it to his mouth (but was not seen biting into it).
Not all clowns are bad! (1979)
After the arrest of serial killer John Wayne Gacy, McDonalds became concerned that the American public would see clowns in a negative light, so their public relations team put together a quick promo featuring Ronald McDonald happily playing with a bunch of small children. Unfortunately, since that's pretty much exactly what John Wayne Gacy did during his clown days, it sort of backfired.
Appetite for McDonalds (1987)
This one opens with Ronald McDonald on stage before thousands of screaming fans, all chanting "Ronald! Ronald!" and excitedly throwing hamburgers and roses up on stage. Ronald catches one of the flying hamburgers and quickly shoves it in his mouth, completely devouring it in two bites. Suddenly Ronald starts shredding on his guitar and screams "Welcome to the jungle, baby! You gonna diiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" The image fades out and with loud hammer clanging noises a red-afroed skull is bolted to the center of a black screen, smoking a cigarette. The words "Appetite for McDonalds" are then bolted down underneath it one letter at a time.
This Batman promotional tie-in commercial features Ronald McDonald sitting at his desk reading a newspaper and smoking a cigar. He happens upon a Burger King advertisement and starts cackling insanely before glaring directly at the camera and saying "Wait till they get a load of me" with a sinister smile. Then he leaps up from his chair and runs out the door. We cut to a shot of him standing on a giant hamburger parade float and he dances on top of it to a Prince soundtrack shouting "This town needs an enema! A burger enema!" before throwing hamburgers out into the crowd.
We all float down here (1990)
In this ad capitalizing on the success of Stephen King's It mini-series, a child in a rain slicker is walking down the street when suddenly he hears someone calling out to him. Looking around rather puzzled, he quickly discovers a clown in the sewer talking to him through the storm drain and beckoning him forward. "Timmy" approaches, and the clown holds up a sparkling Happy Meal box, shaking it tantalizingly, and promises him a magical world of fun and delight if only he'll come down and join him. Timmy eagerly runs toward the clown and begins to squeeze himself down into the drain, while the clown looks directly at the camera and says "We all float down here", offering a helium-filled balloon to the viewer with a knowing wink and a smile. Unsurprisingly, this one did not test well with parent groups.
Do you believe in magic? (1993)
In this occult advertisement, Ronald McDonald sits around a sÃ©ance table with a bunch of eager youngsters, all holding hands. Soon he dons a black robe and wizard hat and begins uttering dark incantations, causing the walls to bleed as a swirling vortex to another plane opens in the air above and deposits Happy Meals before the terrified, screaming children at the table.
No animals were harmed during the making of this burger (1995)
In a response to PETA criticism that McDonalds practiced cruelty to animals, they released this ad, revealing what everyone had pretty much already suspected: that there was no actual animal product present in any of McDonalds's food. They did not elaborate on what is in their food, however, which has led to wild speculation including everything from amputated human body parts to plastics.
Make every time a good time (2002)
This was a print ad featured in "Better Homes and Gardens" magazine that kind of served as precursor to those "I'd Hit That" ads. I think it kind of speaks for itself.
It could be worse (2004)
In response to criticism raised in Morgan Spurlock's film Super Size Me, McDonald's released this commercial featuring a shrugging Ronald McDonald standing before a monitor showing scenes of the Holocaust, 9/11, various war footage and other disturbing scenes, accompanied by a medley of Celine Dion tunes. Ronald turns off the monitor after several moments and then sits down and eats a McDonalds meal in stoic silence for the remainder of the ad.
Battle of the creepy mascots (2005)
In this Japanese ad depicting a dark, post-apocalyptic future, our camera makes an aerial pan through the streets of a completely devastated unidentified city, before swooping down on some action taking place on the street below. As the camera gets closer we see that Ronald McDonald is digging through some wreckage. The camera gets closer still, and we note that Ronald is munching on somebody's arm. Slowly, ever so slowly the camera pans over someone's body parts as we hear Ronald's relentless ravenous chomping and eventually settles on the image of the Burger King's decapitated head. In Japan this was actually drummed up quite a lot of business.
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