Fast food ads have been there since the dawn of time. Provocative, colorful, funny, stupid, and weird, they have indicated what’s wrong and what’s right with the business. Not everyone succeeded but we’ve seen some of the best advertisement pieces ever that have formed some kind of a golden fund for the marketing videos. Let’s see the best of the best.
1. Simpsonize me – Burger King
Why: the royalty of fast food ads, this one from Burger King is brilliantly done. Taking one of the most popular animated shows ever and getting it to work for your brand is a thing of beauty.
In this 1-minute commercial everything works right. The jokes are on point, the crossover between real life and animated does magic, and the execution is flawless. Basically, you’ve got a full-fledged Simpsons episode watching experience. Burger King nailed that one making it one of the most popular fast food ads ever.
2. Where’s the beef – Wendy’s
Why: how about a crazy commercial from the 70s? Here’s a determined grandma driving her relatives (?) that keep comically bumping at the doors with every turn to find the burger with beef. Not only it’s one of these proto-dig commercials that throw shade on competitors (McDonald’s and Burger King), but it’s also a fantastic ad that is fun to watch.
The music is truly psychedeliс, the 70s designs are easy on the eyes, and the main question is still as relevant as always. Where’s the goddamn beef? Probably, it’s at Wendy’s. But who knows.
3. Yo Quiero Taco Bell – Taco Bell
Why: where to begin with this one. It’s perfect. The chihuahua dog is adorable. His name is Gidget and as it is 1997 here you may understand his fate in 2022. But he’s always with us as a hero of this iconic Taco Bell ad. You’re guaranteed to rewatch it. And then rewatch it once again.
The music is addictive, and the way Gidget ignores a pretty chihuahua she-dog deserves respect. After all, the dog knows exactly what it wants and many people should learn from this determination. And that thing is a Taco Bell. Which Gidget pronounces to the slightly stoned taco vendor in the end.
Yo Quiero Taco Bell. Don’t we all after this ad?
4. The Noid – Domino’s Pizza
Why: the Noid is a character created by Domino’s in the height of the 80s to illustrate the challenges of pizza delivery and juxtaposition it with the way Domino’s does things. But along the years it has become much more than a character, for many it has become a spirit of the 80s, a piece of nostalgia, and eventually a pop culture fix. And that’s exactly the way mascots should work.
It’s one thing to introduce a character. It’s a whole another level to create something that persists on and on. The Noid even made a return in the 21st century in another Domino’s ad (to mixed results though). But still, watch and learn.
5. “The Showdown” Bird vs. Jordan – McDonald’s
Why: You can’t get bigger than this McDonald’s commercial. One of the greatest fast food ads of all time it follows a battle between two titans of basketball for a Big Mac menu lunch. Larry Bird vs Michael Jordan, 1993, Super Bowl spot. A perfect combination for a win.
Two athletes challenge each other to score from unexpected angles and it’s an amusing fight to follow. The commercial proved to be so successful that McDonalds chose to repeat the trick by filming another similar-formatted video in 2010 pitting Dwight Howard and LeBron James against each other. Larry Bird makes a cameo in the end eating the Big Mac. Fast food perfection it is.
6. Little Sister – McDonald’s
Why: while this classic ad from McDonald’s may seldom make any millennials or Gen Z people tear up, the people in the 80s cried a river to the somewhat clunky but earnest tune of the “Little Sister” commercial. It follows a brother singing about her sister growing up and becoming a homecoming queen.
It’s very American, very beautifully made and very heartwarming. Who knew that a decade after, there would be commercials of Paris Hilton washing cars half-naked for Carl’s Jr. Burger (that actually started a discussion about sexism in ads). The 80s was a puritan place of a brother singing his heart out to celebrate the life of his sister. Aided by some fries and Coca-Cola from McDonald’s of course. So let’s dully enjoy this kind of fast food restaurant ad.
7. The BTS Meal – McDonald’s
Why: Yes, McDonald’s again. But what can we do if their advertising game rarely disappoints? That video is all about using star power. BTS are one of the most popular bands in the world at the moment and such a grande chain as Mc couldn’t miss a chance to make them their own.
By introducing a special meal “blessed by the band”. The commercial is simple but it does the job right. Expect millions of BTS fans around the world to become McDonald’s fans too after this ad. It’s not the first time the company does the special celebrity meal advertising stint. But this one seems the be most powerful to date.
8. Crossroads – KFC
Why: Ennio Morricone’s music in a KFC commercial? We’re all in for it. The video follows a lonely chick going through the snowy countryside to encounter a turkey in the end. WTF you may say. But wait for it. The chick scares the turkey off and the text reads “Turkey comes and goes. But chicken’s here to stay”.
Did we need such information? Probably not. Is it a fantastically done creative fast-food ad? Absolutely. And it’s always great to see brands going cinematic with their ad endeavors. The sad part is that the chick becomes what KFC sells. But hey, at least the turkey “comes and goes”.