Holiday Triumphs: Christmas Ads from 1985, Pt. 2–McDonaldspalooza

Truth be told, very few of these ads are strictly Christmas ads. Or even obliquely. But they come from the same VHS tape that spawned the first collection I posted last week, and I’d like to maintain the continuity implied by my previous post. It’s my own web-based form of OCD.

Also, this portion of the tape contained some true McDonalds gems from years past. Once upon a time, McDonalds didn’t just run ad campaigns. They were more like ad battle plans: attacks on every conceivable front, using every conceivable tactic, and about as devastating (to the arteries, anyway). There were show stopping dance routines, simplistic set pieces, and cutesy spots that tugged at the heartstrings.

Plus, tons of ads aimed squarely at children. Did McDonalds have qualms about pitching horrifically unhealthy food to impressionable tykes? No, no they did not.

But first, the adult ads. For some reason, a huge number of these spots are obsessed with the HOTNESS of McDonalds food. I don’t know if they were accused of producing lukewarm food, or if this was a particular issue at the time. (I vaguely recall a Time Magazine cover story from this era that wondered, “Are Our Fast Food Burgers Too Cold?”)

Regardless of the cause, in 1985, McDonalds wanted to make sure everyone knew how hot their food was. And just so nobody could miss the message, they created a commercials aimed at specific groups. Like this one, which is clearly pitched to people who love neon.

Then there was this one, which is clearly meant to appeal to lovers of bongos.

And this one, aimed at tough-lookin’ dudes who like to play paddycake. Total cost of this ad: $75.

And in case you were wondering if the hotness guarantee extended to Chicken McNuggets, cease to wonder. Clearly it does, as exemplified by the hot double dutch moves on display here.

Now that McDonalds’ hotness has been definitively established, it’s time to hook the kids ono their meat-flavored snacks. How do you do that? The same way G.I. Joe and He-man did: debut a new character every other week. Here, the kiddies are introduced to Birdie, who was associated with McDonalds’ breakfast items in some way.

And lo, Ronald looked upon the Fry Guys, and he saw that they were lonely and in need of companionship. And so he created mates for them, the Fry Girls. But they did not beget any Fry Babies, because they never quite clicked like that. And also lacked genitalia.

Yes, these exciting characters hooked kids into the McDonalds machine. So much so that they dreamed of spending every waking moment with Ronald and pals. At least the girl in this ad did. I won’t make fun of this obsession, because I had daydreams that were just as lame when I was her age.

After you’ve showered the memory of that ad off your soul, we’ll close with a few more sets of promos. The first comes from CBS, and features some more failed sitcoms, plus The Equalizer, Crazy Like a Fox, Murder She Wrote, and Kate and Allie, a teaser for Star Wars on network TV, and an anti-drunk driving PSA with Magic Johnson.

And here’s some NBC promos, with Gimme a Break, Facts of Life, Golden Girls, 227, and a made-for-TV movie about the last days of Jesse James starring Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash, from the days when those two would crank out at least one TV Western a year.

Finally, here’s a promo for Strictly Business, a local financial news show hosted by current CNN anchor Jack Cafferty. Plus a terrifying NBC-4 News teaser about the Tylenol Killer. I still vote for the 80s as most frightening decade ever.