McDonald's Ad Campaigns Through The Years
by: Protoclown

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.

Jokerisms! (1989)

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 séance 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.

If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out:

McSEX! I-Mockery Improves McDonald's Ad Campaign!

Reader Comments

Forum Virgin
Jan 16th, 2008, 02:00 PM
Now I wanna look up some of these commercials and see them for myself...
Pickled Patriarch
Jan 16th, 2008, 02:06 PM
You forgot one important ad campaign

Jimmy died of dysentery a few days later.
Jimmy's mother was a sadistic she-demon.
Jan 16th, 2008, 03:34 PM
Woah that was awesome!
Forum Virgin
Jan 16th, 2008, 03:45 PM
Don't forget the infamous Judge Dredd Burger War comics...
Pickled Patriarch
Jan 16th, 2008, 04:06 PM
Kryten, Burger War comics featuring Judge Dredd? Please tell me these really exist... and if so, I smell not only burgers, but a future installment of Tales From the Longbox.
Jan 16th, 2008, 04:14 PM
One man is Judge, Jury, AND Burgercutioner
Jan 16th, 2008, 04:17 PM
make every time a good time
Official forum judge
Jan 16th, 2008, 04:50 PM
"This town needs an enema! A burger enema!"
Purveyor of diabetes
Jan 16th, 2008, 06:25 PM
Jan 16th, 2008, 06:54 PM
This reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend who asked me if I knew where to find Ronald McDonald porn...
Jan 16th, 2008, 07:23 PM
Godamnit I actually believed these were real for a minute.
From the Home of MST3K
Jan 16th, 2008, 08:01 PM
Funny, but I think that their actual ad campaigns are funnier, if more tragic because you know the fucking idiots who came up with them made more money on each ad then you will ever know.
after enough bourbon ...
Jan 16th, 2008, 09:10 PM
I remember the first ad, with all those gaywads dancing and prancing around an empty Micky D's cleaning the bejeezus out of the joint, singing "You Deeeeeserve a Break Toooo-Dayyyyy!" (Unfortunately, Ron was nowhere to be seen - icing on the cake, it would have been.)

And whatever happened to the Hamburglar?
Jan 16th, 2008, 09:36 PM
You forgot the Killer Klowns Ronald ads, those were an abomination as well you know.
The Goddamned Batman
Jan 17th, 2008, 12:30 AM
My god, that Burger Wars Judge Dredd shit is magnificent. I haven't looked into it that deeply yet, but I definitely sense a Longbox column in the future...thanks to those of you who mentioned and linked to it!
#1 on the ignore list
Jan 17th, 2008, 12:37 AM
Anything's better than the god damned Whopper Freak Out ad campaign.

Take your fucking Whopper; I don't care!

-that is all
Jan 17th, 2008, 01:41 AM
ya know, if they were to actually show a guy raping his burger, in full graphic detail, I would buy one out of respect.
What Video Games?
Jan 17th, 2008, 02:49 AM
This is interesting. I haven't eaten McDonalds in nearly 15 years, but now I've worked there for nearly a year.
Your Illegitimate Child
Jan 17th, 2008, 04:39 PM
I think it's impossible for a fast food restaurant to make an ad-campaign that doesn't make me angry.
Freelance Product Tester
Jan 17th, 2008, 06:09 PM
The last one sounds like something I would see in Fist of the North Star. Great article.
Fake Shemp
Jan 17th, 2008, 10:16 PM
What made me laugh was thinking about Protoclown google-imaging Anal Lube for his photoshopped pic :P
Is a thin donkey
Jan 18th, 2008, 12:02 AM
I bet more people would eat at McDonald's if they actually did give away Anal Lube with their meals. Brings new meaning to the phrase 'Happy Meal'.
Amicable Herculean
Jan 21st, 2008, 02:20 PM
I always knew Pennywise and Ronald were one and the same.
Live long and prosper
Jan 21st, 2008, 09:19 PM
Years ago McDonald's did an ad campaign with a guy that had a HUGE moon head playing a piano and singing "Mac Tonight" to the tune of "Mac the Knife". They got sued by Bobby Darin's estate and had to pull all the broadcast and print ads...sometimes the real story is funnier than fiction.
The Goddamned Batman
Jan 21st, 2008, 11:45 PM
Originally Posted by Ferrit View Post
What made me laugh was thinking about Protoclown google-imaging Anal Lube for his photoshopped pic :P
I don't know what you're talking about. That photo came from my 'private collection'.
Can You See Me Now?
Jan 22nd, 2008, 01:39 PM
I can't stand the newer commercials. Like the one, where at the end, Ronald lands on the picnic table and jets some poor kid into a tree. Ronald looks up and LAUGHS at him. Stupid.
Who? Me?
Mar 3rd, 2008, 08:24 PM
Ronald McDonald is a pedophile...
Forum Virgin
Apr 26th, 2008, 07:49 AM
im a little late to the larty but hell this makes me have mac attack.
Holy Water Still Burns...
May 3rd, 2008, 01:40 AM
If you actually read It, Pennywise was described as a cross between Ronald McDonald and... some other clown. So, yeah, that kinda made sense. One thing you forgot to preface the article with, Protoclown: Clowns are generals in Satan's army. Mimes are naught but privates!
Forum Virgin
May 22nd, 2008, 04:51 PM
That's our Ronald McTerror! ROTFL! Not a very good AD campaign history there :P
Forum Virgin
Jul 26th, 2008, 07:37 PM
I can't believe they thought that ad based off of IT was a good idea. Especially after the incident with Gacy where they tried to convince people clowns aren't bad, but failed at that. I mean seriously, did they really think the idea of Ronald kidnapping kids into a sewer was cool?

I seriously would not have believed that Make Every Time a Good Time ad was for real. It looks like a parody, I mean what the hell was someone thinking? Anal lube with food uh, has someone in their advertising company spending too much time on the chan image boards?

It doesn't surprise me that the Japanese ad actually drew in business. In Japan, as with other countries outside of the US, they don't hide away from the darker issues in life. Also Japan has quite a reputation for making some of the most contraversial and disturbing horror films in the world. So actually an ad with a female Ronald caniballizing it's competition, might seem like light fare to them. Oh and also, the Japanese Ronald looks really cute, but then I'm one of those people who's a bit of a Japanophile.
Jul 27th, 2008, 07:18 AM
violet yoshi do you get jokes
The Goddamned Batman
Jul 27th, 2008, 11:53 AM
Jul 27th, 2008, 12:42 PM
He had to be kidding right? It seems like he was serious, but there is no way. Right?
Forum Virgin
Aug 5th, 2008, 07:52 PM
Can someone help me find the We All Float Down Here ad on the web. I've been searching, and I wanna see it.

BTW executioneer, do you get what "Playing towards the most juvenile of customers" means?
Aug 5th, 2008, 09:15 PM
so that's a no, then
Aug 6th, 2008, 03:29 PM
Originally Posted by VioletYoshi View Post
BTW executioneer, do you get what "Playing towards the most juvenile of customers" means?
Aug 6th, 2008, 08:17 PM
VY is english your second language
Forum Virgin
Aug 8th, 2008, 05:15 AM
Executioneer, do you know anyone who has English as a second language, that is familiar with words like "juvenile"?

That's the best response you can come up with towards what I said? Aren't you just proving my point? That you're the type of person McDonald's targeted their anal lube ad towards, obnoxious teenagers or people behaving like obnoxious teenagers?
Aug 8th, 2008, 09:01 AM
NEWSFLASH: all of these ads are complete fabrications, light-bright

and the correct phrase is "appealing to the lowest common denominator", not "playing towards the most juvenile of customers"
Aug 8th, 2008, 09:02 AM
i mean seriously, unless you're a character, you gotta be the most easily gulled person i've ever seen on the internet (AND THAT IS SAYING A FUCK OF A LOT)
after enough bourbon ...
Aug 8th, 2008, 01:51 PM
Nuclear Waffle
Mar 14th, 2010, 10:29 PM
Hmm... Maybe I should write that people on, "Humanity Is Stupid" after all...
Registered Absoludicrat
Apr 3rd, 2010, 12:48 AM
The idea of an "It" campaign with Ronald as Pennywise made me laugh more than anything has in years. Many, many thanks, Proto.

P.S. I honestly think the Batman tie-in commercial could really have worked, minus the "burger enema" line. But then, I'm not quite right in the head.

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