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4Sep/110

McDonalds ‘does happy’, recruits customers young

McDonalds refutes claims that it deliberately aims advertising and marketing at kids so they can bolster pester power and encourage parents to feed burgers to their children.

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24Jun/110

Creepiest corporate mascots?

Slate has a feature on this, naming the original Ronald MacDonald (paedophil-beverage-holder-chic); Big Boy (ventriloquist-dummy-psychopathy); Chuck-E-Cheese (crack-bear-living-under-baseball-stadium) and Wienerschnitzel’s The Delicious One (cock-in-a-bap) as some of the worst.

There are some I don't think are creepy at all, including the Michelin Man (Bibendum) - a comforting, jolly type to my mind, especially after Michelin paid for me to spend a day destroying their wares while attached to Porsche 911s at Silverstone.

I can think of far more creepy ad characters to be honest. What about this terrifyingly vacant twat who spends all night watching you sleep and then shows you his meat?

How about these Olympic mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville, or Giant Walking Cock One and Giant Walking Cock Two, as I call them.

Or Barry Scott - a man determined to shout in your face about a chemical scourer. A disturbed man with case notes as thick as your wrist rocking on the back of a bus.

Even Cara Confused - a wobbly-eyed fruitloop with a haunted fanny and, almost certainly, a house that stinks of cat piss.

Some ads have courted frightening characters recently, inlcuding Bird's Eye, with a Mafiosa-like polar bear lurking in fridges and chastising - perhaps even threatening - people for buying cheap frozen goods.

And there's always the suicidal Pepperami things that derive some visceral pleasure from being violently pulled apart.

I like the Pepperami one particularly - it's funny and it fits the brand, but I'm generally unsure about ads that suggest some sort of implicit - or explicit - threat. The Bird's Eye ad, particularly, is quite amusing but if you're basically implying that your customers will receive a horse's head to the bed and a bullet to the face for not buying branded chicken dippers that seems rather problematic.

For my money you can't beat Ronald MacDonald, in any of his guises. Clowns are fundamentally frightening, align that with all of MacDonalds' dubious pester-power marketing; numerous environmental issues and their fucking horrible food and you have a right bastard of a corporate mascot.

Here's one from my youth that used to creep me out, despite the fact that it's a great ad and had the comforting voice of Brian Wilde behind it.

And another that used to drive my infant brother to terrified screams. Still gives me the willies. Wonder what Mr Soft's willy was like.

Big boy image by elycefeliz ; Chuck-E-Cheese image by Mr Cortes

29Jun/100

Best ever ad taglines?

Stuff like this is gold dust on marketing, advertising and PR blogs because it's good link-bait-y copy. Top tens always go down well, but if you can match something that tugs at the nostalgia strings of readers, string it out over 20-odd pages and churn out some generic keyword-heavy intros and you're away.

It's ironic that this one is about advertising taglines, as the title 'best every ad taglines?' - or words to that effect - is almost an advertising tagline in itself.

Anyway, the slogans on this article by Forbes - coincidentally one of the least user-friendly sites in existence - are inevitably US-based, but enough of them should have leaked through to our combined UK and European consciousnesses for them to make sense.

Some are universal. BMW's Ultimate Driving Machine is timeless. Or so you would have thought, as BMW recently ditched it for the appalling Joy.

Just Do It - also a good one, and a slogan coincidentally used by my Dad, in his general attitude to life. Not because of a freaky baseball-cap-wearing US geriatric, but because it worked for him.

Got milk? has alway baffled me. Surely the answer is either 'yes I have go milk' or 'no I haven't got milk'?

Mastercard's There Are Some Things Money Can't Buy tagline is supposedly well-loved. And while it's spawned a thousand spoofs, it doesn't exactly stand out. Does it do anything that other cards don't do? No, it doesn't. So who exactly 'loves' it?

Verizon's Can You Hear Me Now? suggests to me that the line is bad, forcing a redial. It also sounds like something a Tarantino protagonist would shout while pumping someone's head full of bullets.

McDonalds' You Deserve a Break Today has an old-world charm, certainly more than I'm Lovin' It. And We Bring Good Things to Life for GE is quaintly pleasing, far more so than the meaningless, aspirational Imagaination At Work. Then again, these were the days before carbon emissions.

Forbes tells us that the simplicity of The Milk Chocolate Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand is what makes it so good. But if describing what a product does makes a tagline clever, why isn't the Pampers slogan Keeps Baby Shit From Falling Out All Over The Place?

And Time to Make the Donuts? Surely the donuts have been made already? What?

You've Come a Long Way, Baby - Virginia Slims' tagline for marketing fags at women - is well-loved, Forbes tells us. Is it? Is it really? Who loves it exactly? The best I can say about something that plays on womens' fears of their own body image is that it smacks of a low animal cunning.

Reach Out and Touch Someone from AT&T is obviously problematic, while Be All You Can Be - for the US army - has a lot of obvious unfortunate rejoinders: 'working-class cannon fodder', perhaps?

Anyway, what I think stuff like this says about advertising is that it's indelibly linked with a hazy nostalgia for time's gone by. No-one's immune to it. It's the reason why old ads get a run out from time-to-time; the reason we form affinities with brands; the reason why articles like this exist.

Because we don't love the taglines. We love the bittwerweet melancholy of remembering.

• What are the 'best-loved' UK advertising slogans? Some that seem typically British include Ah, Bisto!; Go To Work On An Egg; Beanz Meanz Heinz; Have A Break. Have A Kit-Kat; For Mash Get Smash; Hello Tosh, Gotta Toshiba...

17Jun/101

McDonalds World Cup advert – just passing by

There's not a McDonalds for me.