I know McDonalds is always an easy target for health nuts and opponents of institutionalized fast food production alike to lambaste for their unhealthy meal offerings, fascist-like corporate culture and worldwide ubiquity, but my latent childhood memories paint those same golden arches with a much more nostalgic palette.
If there’s one thing the 90s did well with their advertising aimed at children, it was their ability to make anything unattainable in life seem perfectly within reach. Drinking a Capri Sun made you turn into a T-1000 / Alex Mack liquid metal badass who could shred some serious ass on a half-pipe. Eating fruit roll-ups made your head turn into an anthropomorphic strawberry. The world was truly your oyster.
McDonalds’ advertisers, like any good advertisers do, followed this same trend and came up with a fascinating wish fulfillment commercial campaign of their own: McWorld.
Leo Burnett’s genius McWorld concept graced some of the most famous Saturday morning cartoons in America and had kids nationwide drinking it all in like their first taste of Big League Chew.
The TV spots featured impossibly awesome shit like showing up to school in a fighter jet or playing basketball with Michael Jordan being entirely probable, if we lived in a world where kids ran everything. The Michael Jordan spot even featured a young Alfie from the short-lived Nickelodeon family sitcom, “My Brother and Me.”
Here’s a transcript and visual of one of the advertisements:
“If kids like me were running the world, I’d finally have my own room and no one but my friends would be allowed to come in. I’ll have a super-advanced chemistry set that I’ll use to fix the ozone layer. And, when I’m having a Big Mac attack, I’ll just go downstairs because I’m having Micky D’s put on the back of our house.”
I have to give this dude legitimate props, doe. He’s not only formulating plans to ameliorate the dreaded “Big Mac attack,” but he’s deciding to use his otherworldly kid powers to fix the ozone layer. Pin a medal on the little bastard.
It’s also interesting to note that every one of the lucky ass kids in these commercials somehow considers eating McDonalds at every meal of the day to be an integral part of their wildest fantasies.
The best and most memorable part of said commercials occurred at the very end when the child protagonist would break the 4th wall and proclaim confidently toward the camera:
“McWorld!!! Hey, it could happen.”
I’m really not sure of the exact dates when this ad rotation started and stopped, but I know it went on for a good 4-5 years. They even ventured into magazine one-sheets with the campaign, as I distinctly remember some really awesome print ads in Nickelodeon Magazine featuring McWorld that were designed sort of like a page out of “Where’s Waldo?”
You could look all around this huge image and find different, tiny cool shit that was going on. The particular one I remember had a kid in a dentist chair getting to use milkshakes as mouthwash. Now do you understand why it’s worth writing an article about?
Here are a few more to help bring you out of even the deepest of clinical depressions: