These Amazing McDonald’s Ads Will Never Be Seen in America

mcdonald's goldfish

McDonald’s is, famously, an effective marketer in the U.S. — you can’t argue with a 14 per cent increase in Q3 revenues at a company that is already massive — but it often isn’t a very interesting marketer. Its ads, often directed at children, rarely stray out of the box marked “Family Fun.”

In foreign countries, however, McDonald’s advertising is surprisingly adventurous. It’s hard to imagine McDonald’s would ever run a commercial targeting gay teenagers in the U.S., but in France it’s one of McD’s most famous spots. In the Philippines, the Catholic Church forced McDonald’s to withdraw an adorable ad that showed a boy and a girl discussing their relationship status because it wasn’t within the context of marriage.

Japan’s “sexy” Ronald McDonald ad will turn your stomach, but a brutally honest British ad recruiting staff  — which refers to work at the burger chain as “slave labour” — will bring a tear to your eye.

They’re all in the following slideshow.

[slideshow]
[slide
permalink=”japan-ronald-mcdonald-as-fetish-object-1″
title=”Japan: Ronald McDonald as fetish object”
content=”If, by remote chance, you don’t think this ad is totally wrong …

Then you should check out the version below, in which she wears some sort of McDonald’s-themed lingerie.”
image=”#!#PLACEHOLDER IMAGE#!#”
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[slide
permalink=”france-the-gay-themed-ad-mcdonalds-wont-run-elsewhere-2″
title=”France: the gay-themed ad McDonald’s won’t run elsewhere”
content=”This gay-themed ad has run only in France because McDonald’s COO doesn’t want to ‘impose’ other countries’ beliefs on the U.S.

Agency: BETC Euro RSCG”
image=”#!#PLACEHOLDER IMAGE#!#”
caption=””
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]
[slide
permalink=”britain-slave-labor-3″
title=”Britain: “Slave labour””
content=”This is probably the most radical commercial the company has ever made: an eight-minute epic in which a young unemployed woman must face down the scorn of her friends and family in order to hold down a job flipping burgers. The ad addresses virtually every criticism anyone has ever made of the company — the low pay, its environmental record, lukewarm food, even the obesity crisis — within the format of a kitchen-sink drama. You’ll be choking back the tears by the final scene in which the heroine’s mum is finally forced to admit she respects her daughter’s honest toil.”
image=”#!#PLACEHOLDER IMAGE#!#”
caption=””
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]
[slide
permalink=”the-philippines-mcdonalds-v-the-church-4″
title=”The Philippines: McDonald’s v. The Church”
content=”McDonald’s withdrew this ad, made for the Philippines, after it was criticised by that country’s Catholic Church. In English, the girl asks, ‘Can I be your girlfriend?’ The boy replies: ‘I don’t want to. I’m not ready. Girlfriends are demanding. They want this, they want that.’ It turns out all she wants is French fries, and the boy nearly gets to hold her hand. Aww!

Agency: Leo Burnett Manila”
image=”#!#PLACEHOLDER IMAGE#!#”
caption=””
credit=””
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]
[slide
permalink=”switzerland-stopping-traffic-5″
title=”Switzerland: Stopping traffic”
content=”Agency: TBWA Switzerland”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4edcda1deab8eac02f000023″
caption=””
credit=””
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]
[slide
permalink=”canada-hot-coffee-6″
title=”Canada: Hot coffee”
content=”Agency: Cossette West”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4edcda8eecad04a13a00004f”
caption=””
credit=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”germany-bashing-burger-king-7″
title=”Germany: Bashing Burger King”
content=”This ad is unusual because it directly criticises Burger King and even shows the rival chain’s brand.

Agency: DDB Tribal Group Berlin, HEYE & Partner München.”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4edcda8eecad04a13a00004f”
caption=””
credit=””
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]
[slide
permalink=”denmark-are-we-there-yet-8″
title=”Denmark: Are we there yet?”
content=”Cute.

Agency: DDB Denmark”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4edcdba2eab8ea2234000022″
caption=””
credit=””
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]
[slide
permalink=”france–asterix-9″
title=”France – “Asterix””
content=”This ad was controversial in France because it used that country’s favourite comic book character, Asterix the Gaul. Each Asterix story begins the same way, ‘All of Gaul is occupied by the Romans. All? No! A village of unconquerable Gauls forever resists the invader…’ The French didn’t believe that Asterix would sell out to the Americans. (Or that he would prefer burgers to wild boar.)

Agency: Euro RSCG”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4edcdc0decad047b4d000012″
caption=””
credit=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”south-africa-bribing-your-kids-10″
title=”South Africa: Bribing your kids”
content=”Everyone knows that the purpose of a Happy Meal is to bribe children into behaving better, but the company would never admit that in the U.S. In South Africa, the pitch to parents is more overt.

Agency: DDB South Africa”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4edcdde4ecad047d4d000022″
caption=””
credit=””
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]
[slide
permalink=”belgium-jokes-about-renaissance-venice-11″
title=”Belgium: Jokes about renaissance Venice”
content=”This ad isn’t particularly interesting until you realise that to get the joke you need to know a little bit about the Mona Lisa and Leonardo da Vinci. It seems like something the U.S. McDonald’s would reject for being too highbrow.

Agency: TBWA/Brussels”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4edcdde4ecad047d4d000022″
caption=””
credit=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”uk-happy-to-be-alone-12″
title=”U.K.: Happy to be alone”
content=”In U.S. commercials, no one ever wants to be alone. Happiness is defined as laughing uproariously with your giant gang of friends. In Britain, however, McDonald’s targets adults who just want some quality me-time.

Agency: Leo Burnett”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4edcdde4ecad047d4d000022″
caption=””
credit=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”saudi-arabia-goldfish-burger-13″
title=”Saudi Arabia: Goldfish burger”
content=”It’s a lovely piece of art direction but rather unappetizing … unless you live in a desert kingdom where fresh, clean water is in short supply.

Agency: Leo Burnett, Jeddah”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4edce10c69bedd3c33000042″
caption=””
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]
[slide
permalink=”just-to-prove-the-us-can-make-good-mcds-ads-14″
title=”Just to prove the U.S. can make good McD’s ads…”
content=”Agency: Leo Burnett”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4edce10c69bedd3c33000042″
caption=””
credit=””
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]
[slide
permalink=”now-check-out-the-best-and-worst-ads-of-2011-15″
title=”Now check out the Best and Worst Ads of 2011″
content=”These ads will blow you away. These ads just blow.”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4ed7f855eab8eae356000012″
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]
[/slideshow]