American McDonald’s commercials stopped targeting children sometime ago. Probably had something to do with the unhealthy food or Chris Hansen. You can’t spend years teaching your kid the danger of strangers who offer you food, then expect them to respond positively when a ketchup and mustard colored clown and his made-up friends try to lure them into their “playplace”. In case you forgot how weird old McDonald’s commercials were, let’s review:
Being a clown is no easy gig these days. Even if you have the purest intentions, there’s so much kid-touch-aphobia going around, no parent would let their child within 100 yards of any grown man covered in makeup. Not the case in the sixty’s, when the character of Ronald McDonald (played by Willard Scott) first appeared on TV. Watch this video and tell me you wouldn’t be scared of this guy even now. Willard Scott as the original Ronald McDonald just passed Pennywise from “IT” on my list of “clowns that literally cause me to tremble”.
MAKE IT STOP!!!!
How about the amazingly stoned Sid and Marty Kroft’s vision for a kid-friendly McDonald’s spot? I’m too young to remember this, but if I had seen it on air, it would’ve haunted me. “Say cheeseburger! And promise Ronald you won’t tell anyone what happened here…”
“If I had my way, I’d spend every day with Ronald and all of his friends…” All of his friends who couldn’t testify as witnesses in court BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT REAL! It’s your word against his, little girl. Get out of this daydream, swiftly!
In this totally normal, kid-friendly commercial, Ronald talks to his mcnugget friends who have apparently joined the circus. Let’s talk about anthropomorphizing food — it’s a bad idea. It’s the same reason pictures of cows aren’t used to advertise beef. How has this commercial affected me in my adult life? I’ll never know for sure. But if whole chickens could talk and dress up like circus ringmasters, I’d probably be ok with biting their heads off.
Here’s another McDonald’s spot aiming to be sentimental. It’s supposed to be about a brother who gives his little sister french fries to keep her from annoying him. Then she grows up to be hot, and they fall in love. While eating french fries.
In this commercial, Ronald separates an adorable little boy from his friends, spins him around while ice skating to disorient him, then returns him to the group, with no explanation. Where were his parents? Am I reading too much into this? Probably.
And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon little boy blue and the man on the moon. When ya coming home dad? I don’t know when, but we’ll go to Mcdonald’s then, girl. I’ll make up for the fact that I’m an absentee workaholic father then. And hopefully if I stuff you full of mcnuggets once a month to show how much I care, you won’t become a stripper.