Awesome McDonald’s Commercials I Remember

McDI’ve have been going crazy the last few days looking up McDonald’s stuff. YouTube, Google Images, Flickr, X-Entertainment, anything I can find about Mickey D’s house of beef. I find this place unbelievably fascinating. It’s not just the food, though, it’s the whole McDonald’s mystique. The whole history, advertising, menu and pop culture influences of the world’s greatest fast food chain is endlessly interesting and entertaining. Oh, I won’t eat there, mind you, especially after watching Super Size Me. I still love the burgers and fries, but I feel so guilty eating them after watching that documentary.

Not many other fast food chains have created an entire world named after itself filled with colorful life-size puppet characters that love to eat fast food. Not just love to eat it, but live to eat it. It’s insane. The McDonaldland characters almost deserve their own article here on my blog, and they just might get it the way this week has been going, but today I’m going to show you some of my favorite McDonald’s commercials that I remember as a kid. The ones I watched over and over on Saturday mornings and weekday afternoons. I found so many good memories while surfing YouTube the other day that I thought I’d share. Maybe you remember them too. I’ll also include, at the end, some other funny or classic commercials I came across in my digging. Enjoy!

Commercial #1 – Larry Bird vs Michael Jordan – The Showdown


Classic. One of my all-time favorites. Mostly because I have a stalker-like, awkward love for Larry Bird. Seeing Jordan and Bird face off in the ultimate game of horse for Jordan’s bag of burgers is awesome. This commercial even inspired a sequel or two that included Charles Barkley. This was back when the NBA was still cool. What happened? Click here for the commercial

Commercial #2 – Mac Tonight

Mac Tonight

This particular commercial is the one I first thought of when I decided to write this article. The character and song in the commercial display an unbelievably cool vibe, especially for McDonalds. Mac singing Sinatra-style on top of a giant burger like some Vegas lounge act gone crazy. Wonderful! I still love this commercial and the song. The production values are ridiculously high. Check out the giant McDonald’s/box of fries towards the middle. So cool. Click here for the commercial. I believe there were a couple of different versions of this commercial using the same song including one where Mac is singing inside a rollercoaster as he rolls around and in-between yummy McDonald’s food.

This commercial was actually redone this year with updated song and CGI animation. Click here for it. It’s pretty good, but not as good as the original. Nothing like seeing a dude in a quarter-moon costume that can only move it’s mouth.

Commercial #3 – First Day

First Day
First Day 2

This video was shown constantly during the week after school. It centered on two guys who just started what looks like high school. They are having a hard time in the beginning fitting in but figure it all out by the end of the day and then head for McDonald’s to unwind. I remember this vividly for two things, both shown in the above pics. In the first, the water fountain shoots a giant stream of water into another kid’s face. In pic two is the image of water fountain boy standing amongst what must be the Chicago Bears’ offensive line. What school did these kids go to? Cherynobl? WTF?! It’s a crazy commercial that sums up what it’s like to start a new school, except for the fact that these kids are navigating the school hallways like pros by the end of the first day. But that’s life in McDonalds’ commercial land. Cool song and cool commercial nonetheless. Click here to watch it.

There are some other Mickey D commercials I love, but those are the ones I remember most. I’m sure there are more, but YouTube has a limited selection.

YouTube did, however, have a slew of commercials I’ve never seen before and have quickly fallen in sloppy love with. Check these out:

Origin of Grimace


You may wonder, what the hell is Grimace? You know how each character in McDonaldLand actually represents an item or items on the menu? Birdie the Early Bird is for the breakfast menu, Mayor McCheese was for Big Macs, The Fry Guys were for the fries (obviously). Well, Grimace was meant to represent McDonald’s milkshakes. This commercial is Grimace’s first appearance. You can see he started out as kind of the Hamburgerlar, but with milkshakes. Also, notice that he has 4 arms (see pic) and is a little bit more menacing than later commercials.

Welcome to McDonaldLand

Mayor McCheese

This is the first commercial to introduce audiences to McDonaldLand. A fast food “Shangri-La” where kids could walk amongst gardens of growing cheese burgers and apple pie trees. Oh MY GOD how criz-azy is this commercial?! That song, it’s hypnotic! It brings 7 different kinds of crazy to my eyeballs. It’s like watching HR Puf-n-Stuf while tripped out on Crystal Meth. Unbelievably kooky. Haha. Mayor McCheese is a pimp, tho.

And finally….

If Ronald McDonald were a chick…and hot.

Female Ronald
Female Ronald 2

In Japan McDonald’s decided to semi-retire the scary clown visage of Ronald McDonald. They replaced him with……..her. Click here to see this commercial for the Tomato McGrand sandwich in Japanese. I don’t think this chick is supposed to be Ronald McDonald, I think they are just putting her in Ronald’s outfit. There’s a guy version of this commercial here. I like the chick better.

I hope you’ve enjoyed delving into my McDonald’s obsession this week. I want to write another Mickey D’s article talking about forgotten sandwiches that they used to serve, but we’ll see if it gets done.

Have you had your break today? I’m lovin’ it!

UPDATED!!! — See Part II of this article here! More awesome McDonald’s commercials!!

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18 Responses to “Awesome McDonald’s Commercials I Remember”

  1. I can’t stand most of the McDonalds food but I like the place itself and all the old commercials are great! Have you seen the ones on RetroJunk?

    Here are some others you might enjoy:

  2. I’ve been to RetroJunk, but I don’t know if I’ve seen their McDonald’s commercials. I’ll have to check it out.

    Loved the DailyMotion link, tho!

  3. this is a good picture of mc donalds!!!!!!! i love to eat there too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! good day!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. jessica Says:

    ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww i HATE mcdonalds! gross deep fried food i can’t stand it !

  5. aaaaaaah ai love mcdonalt ! but I know the food of there is ……

  6. HA! I KNEW IT!

    My wife used to work at McDonald’s. She knew most trivia about the store and its commercial characters, but she (being eight years my junior) thought that Grimace always had only two arms. The commercial you have here proves that my memory isn’t as bad as I thought it was becoming!

    Thank you for preserving this bit if Pop-Culture History!

  7. I love the whole “McCulture” surrounding McDonald’s, and it’s a shame it seems to be getting torn down bit by gradual bit. You don’t even really see the characters any more.

    Personally, it was a small something I thought I might get to share with my kids someday, but now, I’m not sure a trip to McD’s will hold the same significance to them as it did to me.

    And I’m not saying this as some sort of McDonald’s-crazed junkie; I couldn’t eat there every day or anything. But as a sort of occasional treat, it’s fun.

    I remember it as a sort of family type place, but now it seems like they’re out to appeal more to some other demographic.

  8. Agreed. A lot of the fun has gone out of McDonald’s to be replaced by a similar “corporate look and feel”. Totally homogenized.

    There are some places that still use a lot of the McDonaldLand imagery. The huge McDonald’s in Orlando still has a lot of paintings and statues of fun characters. They even have a player piano with Mac Tonight on it.

    Ronald McDonald waving to passing traffic
    • True, if you can find a Playland, that retains some of the feel. One of the McDonald’s here, though, the one I tend to frequent, just… I don’t know. Feels like a restaurant. Framed pics of nothing in particular, some cushioned chairs around a coffee table… not BAD, just not McDonald’s.

      Those pics are cool, though. If I’m ever in Florida, I’ll have to check it out.

      In return, here’s a neat article looking at a classic McDonaldland Playland:

    • Oh, forgot to mention before, I think Mayor McCheese is a Quarter Pounder, isn’t he? The cop was the Big Mac, hence his name: Officer Big Mac.

  9. alvin urquhart Says:

    ever see the one where Ronald makes the universe? im having trouble finding it but here is a you-tube clip:

  10. now..Ronald creating the universe…awesomeness

  11. In the old days, they just used Ronald, Hamburglar, Mayor McCheese etc. even in Japan!

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