McDonald’s Advertising: I’m Lovin’ It

Like most children, I loved a trip to McDonald’s. Nowadays, food from McDonald’s barely even makes it onto my “things I’d consider eating if I was really really hungry” list, but I have to give credit where it’s due – McDonald’s often have some great advertising campaigns. Take these two campaigns, which play on the fact that children do generally love McDonald’s, while darkly hinting at a little negligent or reluctant parenting.

These adverts for McDonald’s South Africa by DDB Johannesburg really hit the nail on the head. Who the hell wants to have to deal with those nightmare children who are only invited to the birthday party because the whole class is invited? Jean-Paul Sartre once wisely said, “Hell is other people.” Even if you’re not a total misanthropist, I think you can probably agree with this bastardisation: “Hell is other people’s children.” If you have your own children, you probably (hopefully?) love them dearly. But I’m sure one of your little darlings has at least one friend who you believe really is the spawn of the devil.

I’ve always been an awful snob. When I was at nursery it used to upset me that the other children didn’t make the effort to wipe their snotty noses or put their hands over their mouth when they coughed, so naturally this means that as an adult I don’t really want the little brats to come near me, or my outfit. Maybe one day I will be holding the grubby little hand of some half-formed reflection of myself. Perhaps I’ll even have its younger sibling balanced on my hip, too. But I still think that I’ll hate other peoples’ children, and the reason I’ll hate them will be because I don’t think they’re nearly as great as my own.

The ‘Forgiveness is never far away’ series, by DDB New York, play on the fact that if you do screw up majorly with your child, you can probably bring them round with a trip to good old Maccy D’s! If you regularly piss your kid off and take them to McDonald’s then they’ll probably grow into a fucked up obese teenager, but if you’re usually the kind of oh-so-perfect parent who only feeds their children organic raisins, chances are that one day you will mess up, and you will have to relent and give them their junk food fix to say sorry.

Sorry you had to find out this way.

This outdoor piece of advertising is nothing to do with children, but it’s a smart way of advertising the early morning breakfasts available at McDonald’s. Personally, I can’t think of a worse way to start the day than with a breakfast from McDonald’s, but this is still a very clever use of a sundial (a word that is now so outdated and rare that the first phrase that popped into my head when I saw it was, “shadow clock?”). It’s definitely not enough to make me want a breakfast from McDonald’s, though. In 1996, I ate an Egg McMuffin from their dreaded breakfast menu and it made me vomit. I feel I should point out that I was still at that tender age when I loved McDonald’s – it really was that bad.

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