Tag Archives: mcdonalds

YouTube Comment of the Week: Rhyming Fries

It seems we just keep coming back to McDonalds, don’t it? Ads for this obscure family restaurant make up a healthy percentage of my YouTube haul, because their commercials were even more ubiquitous back in the 1980s than they are now. Especially if you were a kid, because McDonalds had an entire line of spots aimed squarely at children, in a way that would be unthinkable (and possibly illegal) now.

Most (if not all) McDonalds commercials from this period were huge production numbers, replete with choreography, show-stopping tunes, and the occasional celebrity appearance. The ads meant to entice little kids were no exception. In fact, looking at them with adult eyes, I can barely fathom how much time, energy, and cash was expended on these 30 second spots that would only alert children to the existence of food they already knew about.

Take for example this ad from 1985, entitled “Rhyming with Fries.” Just look at the sets, the puppetry, the special effects, all employed to tell kids that McDonalds’ fries are delicious. What kid didn’t know that, even in 1985? I never went to McDonalds as a kid, and even I knew their french fries were manna from heaven.

Of course, the real reason we’re here is a comment posted below this commercial. I try not to comment on these comments (meta!), but let’s just say it neatly sums up my inexplicable obsession with these ads, and possibly my life.

McDonald’s: The Old Hotness

As I’ve written many times (and will no doubt write many times more), I enjoy watching old VHS tapes in my collection because they provide time-capsule-like snapshots of a certain era. You get a glimpse of what folks were obsessed with back then–or what their corporate overlords DEMANDED they be obsessed with.

Prime example: McDonald’s. Being the unstoppable behemoth they are, advertising is virtually pointless for them. Unless they’re introducing a new product or promoting a sale, there’s really no way for them to increase McDonalds awareness, or no reason to, either.

Problem is, McDonalds has an advertising budget that dwarfs the GDP of several African nations, and them bucks gotta be spent somewhere! So sometimes they devote said bucks to idiosyncratic campaigns whose aims aren’t exactly clear when the commercials first air, and become progressively dimmer with the passing of time. For instance, I have many McDonalds ads from the mid-80s in my YouTube collection that involve people dancing. Not just a few steps, either. I’m talking like Busby Berkeley showstoppers. Did anybody want to see this 25 years ago? I doubt it, but these ads look a hundred times weirder now.

But that’s a subject for another time (or never; never works, too). This is all a lead in to tell you that I was recently reminded of an odd ad campaign McDonalds ran in my youth. (What reminded me? My brain, because it hates me.) They had several commercials in which the HOTNESS of their food was heavily emphasized. Me, I think heat is an assumed quality of all food, non-gazpacho edition. But for some reason, circa 1985, McDonalds was all like NO, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. OUR FOOD IS REALLY REALLY HOT AND THIS IS A CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION. It seems ironic in retrospect, considering they were eventually sued for almost burning someone’s face off with coffee.

My efforts to find out exactly why McDonalds did this (i.e., googling) have been fruitless. The only theory I have is that these debuted around the same time as Wendy’s “Where’s the beef?” ads. So perhaps this was McDonalds reaction to Wendy’s needling of the size of their meat. “Oh yeah, you think your burgers are bigger? Well, ours are hotter. Take that, assholes.”

So that you may be as baffled as I, here are a few humble examples.

Continue reading McDonald’s: The Old Hotness

YouTube Comment of the Week: Birdie

For this installment of YouTube Comment of the Week, we turn once again to a McDonalds ad. As you may recall, McDonalds once had a slew of “McDonaldland” characters whose sole purpose was to sell their highly nutritious food to children. They introduced new pals for Ronald McDonald only slightly less often than The Masters of the Universe did.

Here’s an ad that debuted the character of Birdie, who I believe was associated with their extremely healthy breakfast options, followed by one pithy comment.

YouTube Comment of the Week: McDonalds Daydream

I’ve posted many videos to YouTube over the years. Most of them are commercials from old VHS tapes. Why do I feel compelled to do this? No idea. It’s just my nature You might as well ask the salmon why he swims upstream, or Rudy Giuliani why he says “9/11” all the time.

I have email alerts setup to inform me whenever someone comments on one of my videos. Because I don’t know if you noticed, but YouTube comments have a tendency to be hideously wrong. Racist, sexist, homophobic–you name the wrongness, they’ll invoke it. I’d really rather not have something I posted as a lark be polluted by sub-literate hate. At least learn some proper spelling and grammar, hate-mongers!

Amazingly, very, very few of my videos have gotten such comments. But they have gotten a few that are doozies for other reasons. So I thought I’d share some, without editorializing, with the public. The inaugural edition comes courtesy of an old McDonald’s commercial crica 1986 called “Daydream.” (All 1980s McDonald’s ads had titles and seems about 11 months long compared to their modern counterparts.) Comment appears below the video.

Holiday Triumphs: More Adtacular! Halloween, 1985

Continuing my pointless quest to digitize every 80s ad I possess, I present this latest collection of commercials from The Vast and Dusty Scratchbomb VHS Archives. The latest batch comes from a tape with material recorded right around Halloween, 1985. Why am I presenting Halloween materials when we’re so close to Christmas? Because many of these ads have holiday relevance. And because I lump Halloween into that Drive To XMas Season. And because SHUT UP IT’S MY STUPID SITE OKAY?!

This first ad definitely has Christmas significance. In it, Alex Karras (aka Webster’s dad) informs parents that they better rush down to their local toy store NOW if they want to get some decent Transformers for the kiddies come December 25. This ad aired very close to Halloween, meaning there were at least seven weeks left until The Big Day. Just in case you thought retailers jumping the gun was a recent phenomenon.

It also features Webster’s dad lip syncing to “robots in disguise”, thus putting it in my top 10 favoritest ads ever.


Continue reading Holiday Triumphs: More Adtacular! Halloween, 1985

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.


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