Are We Really Lovin’ It? The Good, The Bad And Side-Eye Worthy Of McDonald’s Commercials For The Black Community

March 5, 2013  |  
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Nobody has had more of a dominance over the fast food industry than McDonalds. There are more than 30,000 locations all over the world and I could go to Ecuador and even Estonia to get my fries fix on. And with that world domination, the fast food chain knows that it needs to market its food to a wide range of people. But has anyone else ever watched a McDonald’s commercial catered towards black folks, and at the end, thought “Did the black people in this ad really need to be rapping or dancing for you to sell me some Chicken McNuggets?” Don’t get me wrong, they definitely have had their good moments (remember the Martin Luther King Jr. ad celebrating him with all the candles? And most of the ones they’ve done for white folks have been good…), but other times, they’ve produced some side-eye worthy commercials that included break dancing, dunking nuggets, and folks leaving the corner to do better by getting employed by Mickey D’s…here’s a few examples…And shout out to Ed Sanders for collecting these videos on his YouTube page.

When Ronald McDonald Started C-Walking For Nuggets

Get it Ronald!

That’s what the colorfully dressed nuggets say as Ronald McDonald comes out behind the golden arches, cranking some very over-the-top dance that looks suspiciously similar to the C-walk. All this foolery for some nuggets though? But hey, the late ’80s were all about a more fun brand of Hip-Hop (and MJ), so I guess you could say the commercial worked with the times, but I can’t say that I when I look at Ronald McDonald nowadays that I won’t think of him jigging with his red hair and yellow ensemble.

That McNugget Lovin’

Let’s not kid ourselves. As crazy as this commercial comes off every time I see it, there’s no denying the fact that it’s hilarious. A dude outside in a bucket hat, in the house, in full distress, getting his Carl Thomas on about his woman getting 10-piece chicken McNuggets without him. In all honesty, the music was actually mad catchy, and when it first dropped, everybody and their mothers would say, “You got a 10-piece girl don’t be stingaaaaaaay!” It’s definitely one of my favorites because it’s so over the top on purpose, and we all learn an important lesson–don’t dip on your man when it comes to food. He might get emotional.

A Rap In Exchange For A Dollar Menu Breakfast

As much as this commercial has its annoying moments (once again, do people really need to be rapping about McDonald’s breakfast for us to want to eat some?), dude in the commercial definitely has some rhyming skills. The beat was fly, the lyrics were pretty dope as well, and McDonald’s found an interesting way to showcase damn near everything on their dollar menu for breakfast. It’s sad though, because homeboy didn’t get the memo that starring in a McDonald’s commercial isn’t necessarily going to propel your career like that, but it could get you a few free Egg McMuffins…

Calvin’s Got A Job!

Who else immediately thinks of the Chappelle’s Show “WackArnold’s” skit when they think of this whole Calvin’s Got a Job McDonald’s ad? The ad is just one of a few from back in the day that glamorizes a job at McDonald’s as a way out of trouble and up the ladder of success. And because Calvin was able to get a promotion, his mother decided to spread the word ’round the hood that Calvin was living the life. And yes, we’re talking about Calvin that used to hang out on the corner…(see the .24 second mark to get that reference).

Flatbread, The Hip-Hopera

What in the hell???

I don’t know if folks were trying to follow in the footsteps of Beyoncé’s Carmen and the whole Hip-Hopera thing, but this opera based around the struggle between two lovers and the beloved flatbread sandwich they’re fighting for is a bit on the corn-a-licious side. From the creepy beat (sounds like a Dr. Dre beat gone terribly wrong) to even the wig on the leading lady that is far back, no thanks on all of this. Well, except for the flatbread sandwich, the camera shots of that mug made it look really good!

A Hip-Hop Concert For A Mango Smoothie

Yikes, there were so many things wrong with this commercial (hence the fact that it had so many dislikes in comparison to likes on YouTube), including the fact that more than half of it consisted of folks doing a call and response of mango and pineapple. Because, of course, most black folks spend most of their time at concerts getting geeked up by anything a hype man says over a mic that has to do with food. And seriously, it’s crazy to think that that was all the commercial had to offer (“When I say mango you say pineapple…”). MESS.

When McNuggets, Basketball, And Hip-Hop Mix

Stereotype time! What do you get when you incorporate chicken, a catchy beat, and basketball? A McDonald’s McNugget commercial! Somehow morphing the fingers of a hungry mug into a figure dunking into a pack of honey mustard and sweet chili was deemed a great idea, when in reality, it was NOT. The lack of creativity is a bit disappointing, especially since past Nugget commercials have been a lot more fun. But if this is how Mickey D’s thinks black folks “throw down”…*Kanye shrug*

Double Dutch For Chicken Nuggets

I’m somewhat on the fence about this commercial. I love double dutch and the kids in the commercial (from ’85) definitely have great personalities and moves (and those suits supplied by McDonald’s aren’t too bad either), but the fact that they’re doing all this for chicken nuggets in front of a crowd of only white folks is a little awkward. We couldn’t diversify the crowd?? But out of all the ones I watched today, this one is definitely one of the few that kept my attention for good reason. Those kids have mad skills!

Acting A Fool In The Theater For A Big Mac

Man, this commercial just screams ’90s, and it is from ’98, hence the style and look of the ad. And while it’s definitely not a bad one, it made me think of the stereotype of black folks talking loud in the movie theaters…but hey, don’t mind me, it’s my job to over-think things. Shout out to Regina Hall in the ad, way before she really started blowing up. Though I hope she ditched that guy for a man who isn’t so thirsty to take his lady to Mickey D’s of all places for a date…(*wink*)

Cha Cha Slide For Chicken Nuggets

Yeah, this commercial has some questionable moments, but I can’t help but love the little boy in this ad who is doing the absolute most for some apple slices (and yes, some chicken–we see those McNuggets on the sly). And the fact that his dad started off by giving him the same side eye that we were dishing out but eventually was trying to groove with him–priceless. Hey, I think we all did a little jigging here and there in the hopes that our parents would bring back a Happy Meal and a beloved toy for us come dinner time.

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