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THE 20 BEST MCDONALD'S ADS OF ALL TIME

McDonalds Drive Thru sign against blue sky and palm tree

Interested in Mcdonalds ads? Then you have come to the right place!

There are over 39,000 McDonalds restaurants located in 118 countries across the world, and each one of them feels like home (especially to its staff and regular customers).

Through its strategic marketing, McDonalds has been able to forge the illusion of a home away from home; every McDonalds welcomes people of all demographics to bond with others, or take a moment for themselves, whilst munching on their trusty fast food offerings.

Here, we take the time to explore how McDonalds has consistently remained at the top of the fast food market.

We will consider how the brand attracts different customers by producing commercials that appeal to all viewers and tailored commercials that appeal to a specific group of viewers. Naturally, we will also be taking the time to consider the soundtrack for each ad. 

Do you happen to be looking for some music to make your television ad?

Head on over to our music for advertising page to read up about the best type of tracks for commercials, and subsequently explore our production genre playlist to discover compositions ready and waiting for you.

mcdonalds ads

McDonald’s Marketing History: Key Strategies

Ever since Ray Kroc took over the McDonalds brand in the 1950s, McDonalds has strived to be the worlds leading fast food company.

How? By keeping their prices low, standards consistent and having something on the menu for everyone. 

Across the years, the tagline Im Lovin’ It’ has been key to the McDonalds brand – it reminds consumers that a meal from a chain restaurant is a simple way to obtain instant gratification.

No matter if the commercial is targeting kids, mothers, businessmen or others, the Im Lovin’ It’ tagline works. 

im lovin it

Photo Credit: https://allstargraphics.com/

In terms of mascots, McDonalds have featured various characters in print and television ads – as you will know, some have stuck around longer than others.

In 1963, three television ads dropped introducing the character of Ronald McDonald. Inspired by The Bozo Show – the number one childrens television show at the time – McDonalds hired the actor who played Bozo (Willard Scott) to take on the character of Ronald McDonald, the hamburger-happy clown.

From here on in, McDonalds continued to build upon the persona of Ronald and create characters for him to interact with – including the Hamburglar, Grimace and Birdie the Early Bird. 

ronald mcdonald

Photo Credit: https://www.reddit.com/

Above all, McDonalds believes its vital to ensure that their commercials welcome people from all walks of life into their world.

A common theme of the brands ads is 'home' – the commercials emphasise that everyone is welcome to take a moment to indulge and re-energise inside a McDonalds restaurant.

Below, we look at the top 20 McDonalds television commercials and decipher how the restaurant chain has managed to appeal to everyone. 

mcdonalds ads

Top 20 McDonald’s Television Commercials

2021 McDonald’s Ads

1. Laughter (2021)

Nothing lifts our mood and helps us bond with others than a little laughter.

McDonalds aimed to associate the feeling of delight one feels when laughing with their fast food offerings with the release of the 2021 ad Laughter. The ad promotes the idea that happy memories are made every day inside of McDonald’s restaurants across the world.

Music: The uplifting, driving music heard throughout the ad helps evoke happy memories the audience member may have experienced within a McDonalds restaurant. 

2. Hungry Eyes (2021)

To advertise their McDelivery service, McDonalds released a commercial in summer '21 that shows the gratifying experience of having a McDonalds order delivered to your door.

Essentially, the commercial focuses on a slew of hungry Brits who make good use of the McDelivery service and subsequently consume their meals in their own unique ways. 

Music: As Eric Carmens 80s hit ‘Hungry Eyes plays throughout the ad, the commercial aptly zeroes in on the eyes of those whove ordered a McDonalds to their home. 

2020 McDonald’s Ads

3. Travis Scott Meal (2020)

McDonald's is a pop culture phenomenon, and so is rapper Travis Scott. The two joined forces in 2020 and announced the Travis Scott meal; as expected, hypebeasts went crazy for the collaboration and helped the restaurant boost their sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Music: Travis Scott is famed for his unique sound that combines cloud rap, dark rap and trap to create haunting, psychedelic beats.

McDonalds uses Scotts signature sound to soundtrack the McDonalds ad, adding an extra layer to the Travis Scott x McDonalds experience.

4. The Gift (2020)

October 2020s ad titled The Gift is one of the sweetest, most soul-stirring ads the restaurant franchise has ever released.

Simply put, the commercial focuses on a working-class son from Northern England who is gifted his mums car for his birthday. The young man shows a lot of gratitude towards his mother, even though his peers attempt to embarrass him for driving his mothers car to McDonalds and back.

Music: Whilst the young man is munching on his McDonalds fries in the restaurants car park, he discovers his mothers homemade CD. He pops the CD into the cars media player, and Westlifes cheesy pop hit Flying Without Wingsbegins to play.

Not only does this track emphasise the bond between the mother and the son, but it also highlights the fact that the young man is grateful to be flying around in a car whilst his peers are travelling by foot and bicycle.

McDonald’s Breakfast Ads

5. Interview (2019)

Interview may have first aired a couple of years ago, but its undoubtedly the McDonalds commercial we most regularly think about.

The ad teaches viewers an important lesson: be kind to strangers and good karma will reward you. 

Music: Whilst the majority of the commercial is free of music, a track does kick in towards the end. Soft strings provide the story with an emotional ending that highlights the moral of the story.

6. Breakfast (2017)

We all know that a regular weekday morning is nothing like they show in the movies – most of us dont wake up on time, we dont have time to exercise, and we certainly do not have the energy to make pancakes, waffles or muffins. On the contrary, everything seems to go wrong when youre rushing around.

McDonalds exposes the reality of a morning in the average British household with a rib-tickling, relatable compilation commercial. The ad ends with a dad picking up a McDonalds breakfast for him and his son with the slogan, At least thats breakfast sorted'. 

Music: As viewers watch the chaos unfold, Perry Comos steady, easy listening track ‘Its A Lovely Day’ finds beauty in the mundane reality of a weekday morning. The track contrasts against the hectic happenings of the commercial and reminds viewers to be grateful for every morning they wake up.

Funny McDonald’s Ads

7. Hamburger University (1986)

Back in the 80s, McDonalds marketing strategy chiefly revolved around the characters of McDonaldland.

Within this commercial titled Hamburger University, Ronald McDonald is teaching a group of puppet burgers about a threat in McDonaldland – the Hamburglar. Suddenly, the Hamburglar appears and attempts to kidnap the innocent hamburgers from the classroom. 

Music: Obviously, the Hamburger University ad is extremely lighthearted; appropriately, the music is fun, sweet and cartoonish. Think: the kind of music youd expect to hear in a childrens television show. 

8. First Day (2012)

During the 00s, office-based comedies were all the rage. Defined by their dry humour, savvy camera work and relatable characters, this sub-genre of television has been referenced ever since in an array of different media productions.

And in 2012, McDonalds created their own homage to an office-based comedy with their rom-com ad that focuses on an employee's first day in the office. (Spoiler: its a whirlwind of a day.)

Music: One of the key elements of office-based comedy is a focus on diegetic sound. Accordingly, McDonalds eschews music for this commercial to further pay tribute to the television sub-genre.  

McDonald’s Ads Around the World

9. Australia – 50 Years of Macca’s (2021)

A key reason why McDonalds enjoys global success is that it understands the importance of national identity.

For example, the franchise embraces the Maccas nickname its been given by the people of Australia, and within the 50th-anniversary commercial, the chain celebrates the weird and wonderful ways of its Aussie consumers. 

Music: To further add to the patriotism of the commercial, McDonalds Australia opts for warm and powerful track ‘The Horses’ by Australian singer Daryl Brathwaite to soundtrack the ad. 

10. Singapore – McDonald’s Ramadan (2018)

Singapore is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, and in spring '18, McDonalds Singapore created a commercial to remind viewers to be respectful to their Muslim workers whilst they observe Ramadan. A McDonalds delivery driver travels across the city to bring food to customers whilst committing to his religious practices. 

Music: The storytelling composition used in the McDonalds Ramadan commercial encourages audience members to put themselves in the protagonists boots. As one listens to the electric strings and drums, one is likely to ponder on the idea that McDonalds delivery drivers are under-appreciated everyday heroes.

11. Egypt – I’d Do Anything For Love (2008)

In 2008, one of the best – and funniest – commercials in the world came from McDonalds Egypt.

Throughout the first half of the 45-second ad, an Egyptian couple are shown to be in a fairytale-esque relationship; but once the couple gets to McDonalds, their relationship deteriorates as the man refuses to share his food with his other half. 

Music: The music of this McDonalds Egypt ad is paramount to the narrative. The ad wouldnt be half as humorous as it is without the inclusion of Meatloafs 90s hit 'Id Do Anything for Love'. 

12. Middle East – True to Tradition (2014)

In the Middle East, McDonalds embraces the local culture by serving fast food takes on local dishes, and creating commercials that reflect a native's lifestyle.

In 2014, McDonalds released the ‘True to Tradition’ commercial that focuses on a young boy respecting the traditions of his family and his culture by waiting for his elderly relative to start eating before he does.

Music: The ‘True to Tradition’ commercial opts for an Arabic-inspired track to stress the setting of the commercial and focus on McDonalds respect for local traditions. The jocund composition grants permission to viewers to laugh at the comical situation in which a young boy is conflicted between satisfying his hunger and respecting his family. 

McDonald’s Ads for Kids

13. Minions (2021)

In summer 21, McDonald's released a colourful commercial to advertise the inclusion of Minions in the latest McDonalds Happy Meals.

The super-fun 30-second TV spot reminds children and adults alike why we all fell in love with Minions a few years back – theyre mischievous, funny and, above all, super adorable. 

Music: The action/adventure vibe of the music piece used within the Minions ad seemingly suggests that life is always an adventure when Minions are a part of your life; so why not go down to your local McDonalds and pick one up for yourself?! 

14. Teen Titans Go! (2019)

Back in 2019, Teen Titans Go! toys could be found in McDonalds Happy Meals in the UK. To advertise the new Teen Titans Go! Happy Meals, McDonalds released an animated commercial in which Doctor Light steals all of the citys apples and grapes.

Evidently, this is McDonalds attempt at promoting healthy eating to a younger audience (apple and grape bags are a substitute for french fries).

Music: The funky pop music used in this commercial marries well with Teen Titans Go!s vibrant animation style. Plus, its practically perfect for capturing the attention of younger viewers.

McDonald’s Healthy Ads

15. McDonald’s Happy Meals – What We’re Made Of (2019)

The McDonalds ‘What Were Made Of’ commercial centres around the idea of the balanced, wholesome optionsoffered to children by the fast food chain.

The simple ad walks through the healthiest options on the menu and focuses on smiley parents who are happy to know McDonalds can provide their children with nutritional meals. 

Music: The tone of the commercial is uber positive – it invites the viewer into the safe space of McDonalds and provides them with facts about their menus balanced options. The music track that plays throughout is bright and sunny and helps McDonalds spread the word about its healthy offerings. 

16. Always Working On Our Happy Meal (2016)

In 2016, McDonalds UK released a stop-motion animation commercial that boasts the improvements the restaurant chain made to their Happy Meals.

The viewer is instantly transported to the peaceful British countryside when they see the pastoral setting and hear the calming sounds of harmonic whistling.

Music: As previously mentioned, McDonalds predominantly uses whistles to soundtrack the ‘Always Working on Our Happy Meal’ ad; and, towards the end of the commercial, the whistles are accompanied by a soft and steady background track that further adds to the idyllic atmosphere. 

McDonald’s Coffee Ads

17. McCafé – Madness (2017)

During the early 2010s, McCafé was introduced to UK McDonalds customers – from here on out, Brits were able to get coffee shop-standard hot and cold drinks quickly and cheaply.

In 2017, the franchise released a TV spot titled Madness that compares the simple service of McCafé with the fussiness of a modern coffee shop. 

Music: To emphasise the crazy complexity of the experience of a contemporary coffee shop, McDonalds opted for Prince Busters classic ska song Madness. The song works well with the context of the commercial, and it drives the narrative with its well-paced, jazzy beat. 

18. McCafé – Flat What? (2018)

A year after the super successful Madness commercial, McDonalds released Flat What?, an ad that teases the British public who cant seem to grasp the idea of a flat white (which, FYI, originated in Australia).

Throughout the minute-long ad, coffee drinkers, waiters and baristas alike are confused by the concept of the hot beverage. 

Music: Like its predecessor, this McDonalds commercial opts for Prince Busters ‘Madness’ track. The song provides the McCafé commercials with an element of consistency, and it also pairs well with the context of the commercial.

McDonald’s Christmas Ads

19. Inner Child #ReindeerReady (2020)

The beautiful, Pixar-esque McDonalds Christmas commercial of 2020 is the kind of ad that stays with you forever – its relatable, heartfelt and, most importantly, magical.

The story follows a teen boy who is torn between having fun with pleasing his inner child by having fun with his mother during the festive period and embracing the anti-social ways of a modern teenager. To the delight of his mother, the boy chooses to listen to his heart and embrace his inner child. 

Music: Becky Hills cover of Alphavilles iconic track ‘Forever Young’ is sweet and delicate, just like the theme of the commercial. The piano that accompanies Hills vocals is aptly clement, and it helps the commercial move from one scene to another.

20. Carrot Stick (2017)

Arguably the most famous Christmas ad to ever come from McDonalds is the ‘Carrot Sticks’ commercial first released in 2017.

The minute-and-a-half-long TV ad pivots around a young girl who saves her McDonalds carrot for the reindeer on Christmas Eve; and after her brother tells her that theres more than one reindeer, she persuades her dad to return to McDonalds for more carrots.

Music: The composition that plays in the background of the McDonalds Carrot Stick commercial is a sentimental piano piece that persuades the viewer to invest in the relationship between the father and daughter. 

Music For Your Advert

McDonalds are savvy enough to know that music is of supreme importance when producing a television commercial, and we hope you are too. 

At Audio Network, we invite you to browse our catalogue of over 200,000 compositions and sample tracks that prompt curiosity.

Perhaps you could start by visiting our musical style and mood page, which contains playlists such as indie, pop and hip-hop and R&B. Or maybe you'd prefer to discover tracks via our production genre page, which contains playlists such as documentary, drama, comedy and lifestyle

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