McDonald's Released an Amazingly WTF Commercial and Now My Brain Hurts

In Depth

We need to talk about the McDonald’s commercial that just aired, you guys. I just…I have a lot of feelings and I don’t know how to cope with this right now.

If you haven’t seen it, I’m truly sorry for what I’m about to inflict upon you. There’s really no way to describe this commercial; words fail you, and if you can think coherently over the sound of the confused, pain-wracked screams ricocheting off the inside of your skull, the only thought you can form, at least initially, is some variation on “WHY.” It’s best if we just rip the bandaid off and unleash this on you now, so here you go:

If you’re 10 seconds in and wondering when the commercial starts, you’ll be waiting a long time: it is entirely composed of still images of McDonald’s signs for a minute straight. The whole thing is set to a cover of Fun’s “Carry On,” a song I never liked to begin with. You know how sometimes you hear a cover version of a song you always hated and suddenly it actually sounds really good? This is the diametric opposite of that. This is a song sung by a group of overwrought 12-year-olds who sound like they’ve been forced into this by deranged stage moms promising to let them out of the basement for a whole week, but only if they hit that high C. The lead singer-child fully disappears 20 seconds in, possibly to go sob while wondering why his parents never loved him.

What…what are we even seeing here? I can’t even tell what McDonald’s is going for. They jump from weird religious invocations (“God Protect the USA”?) to pointing to as many non-politicized single-take tragedies as they possibly can, because we all know it’s never tacky to commercialize national tragedies; 9-11, the Columbia disaster, the trapped West Virginia coal miners (time to slip in another God reference here on a time-lapse match-on-action), and the Boston Marathon bombing all make appearances. Then it gets REALLY weird when they switch to signs wishing random people well, like hoping Ed and Beth Ponkleberger of East Shitheel, Nebraska or wherever have a happy 30th wedding anniversary, as well as the single most perplexing sign of the whole thing, which proclaims “HUG THOSE DADS.” To describe this commercial as “jarring” and “dissonant” is to describe the heart of the Gobi Desert as “not an ideal vacation spot.” I have now watched this thing more closely than the Warren Commission analyzed the Zapruder footage, and it has yet to start making sense.

Reactions among current and former Jezebel staffers were, variously, “FUCK GODDAMN MCDONALD’S,” “my immediate reaction was ‘PRAY FOR AN AORTIC STENT’ because of both ‘#PRAYFORDREW’ and because fry grease,” a link to this image, “WHAT IS THAT, WHY HUG THOSE DADS,” “WHY IS TURNIP SEVEN FEATHER,” and “this is what you would vomit if you tried to force feed yourself nostalgia, patriotism, and 18 McRibs.” The consensus was that “HUG THOSE DADS” was definitely the high/low-water mark. My brain, meanwhile, is basically stuck inside this gif:

You’ve done it, McDonald’s. You have finally broken me, and all it took was a minute of my life that I can now never hope to erase. I hope you’re happy.

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