Big Mac: Dynomite!

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that this guy looks like J.J. from Good Times. This ad was placed in the very same month that Good Times went off the air (August 1979). Back then ads probably had a longer lead time than they do now. Regardless, I don’t feel one way or another about McDonald’s “ethnic marketing.” Even today it ranges from “what were they thinking?” to others that are more tastefully done.

About a month ago I went to a number of neighborhood flea markets and I was really taken back to see someone selling old ads individually packaged in plastic sleeves for a dollar a pop. He had 200 or so in a box. I thought… “the nerve of this guy.” What’s funny is that flea markets have all sorts of junk, but there’s no telling how much something is worth as long as someone is willing to pay for it. I was given this stack of vintage Ebony mags for free. You’d better believe that if I knew someone who wanted to buy them I’d sell.

I haven’t heard the Big Mac jingle in some time. Maybe it’s gone for good now.

Ebony Magazine

August 1979


  1. Excellent insights, Anthony. That first McDonald’s TV spot you linked to (“What were they thinking?”) is really…something else.

  2. I was going to get more into the issue of parody vs mockery, but they don’t make those sorts of spots that often. And while McDonald’s has other “ethnic campaigns,” they only run in other countries. I had some other “bad” examples from our ad coursework (Intro to Ad and Strategy/Positioning), but I couldn’t find them. If I do find them, I’ll post a follow-up.

  3. I think the first one is more entertaining then the McCafe Dwele one though- just because it mimick an R&B video. I definitely think that’s a parody –

    But what about the Swagger Wagon commercial from the Toyota Sienna?

    Is that mockery or parody – harder to tell when you put another race in the mix…

  4. I think Toyota’s ad is definitely a parody. It would fit right in on SNL/MadTV. It’s not necessarily about who does it, but how often it’s done. Keeping SNL as the example… they make plenty of parodies about different things, but every week it opens with a political sketch. That’s what I’d call mockery. I’m sure the less than popular politicians hope to dodge that SNL bullet. They know it’s coming. It’s going to hit somebody, but who?

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