On commercials.

Whilst watching the playoffs last night, I saw a McDonald’s ad featuring a family of bears. A quick internet search revealed that it debuted last spring, which surprised me because I’d never seen it before. Forgive me for being slow. Anyhow, in the ad, Baby Bear gets a report card with straight A’s, including A-pluses in “Mangling” and “Growling.” To celebrate, Papa Bear takes him down to the road where they ambush some tourists, terrorize them out of their car, and eat the french fries the tourists left behind, trashing the car in the process. All of this is set to a peaceful tune reminiscent of Disney movies.

This was a wee bit darker than the typical McDonald’s ad. But since they seem to have opened up to something other than saccharine humor, here’s something I sketched out many moons ago (forgive the formatting):

Exterior shot of the White House at night. A caption reads: “WASHINGTON, D.C., 1987.”

Interior shot of the White House Master Bedroom at night. President Reagan is asleep in bed, Nancy at his side. There is a knock at the door. An aide opens the door and peers in. Reagan turns on the bedside lamp. His hair is immaculate.

REAGAN: What is it?

AIDE: Mr. President, the Soviets–

Reagan puts his hand over an ominous red button on the nightstand.

AIDE: –I haven’t finished, sir.

Reagan pauses and allows the aide to continue.

AIDE: The Soviets want to talk about the upcoming summit.


Reagan thinks about it, then presses the button, turns off the lamp and goes back to sleep.

Cut to an exterior shot of the Kremlin in daylight. A caption reads “MOSCOW, U.S.S.R.” Air raid sirens are blaring. Troops are running around on the grounds.

Cut to an interior shot of an office in the Kremlin. Panicky aides rush back and forth with printouts on old continuous computer paper, shouting into walkie talkies. A radar screen built into the wall indicates a massive strike group is headed towards Moscow. Mikhail Gorbachev sits at his desk, the only one who seems to be keeping his head. A general leans over the desk.

GENERAL: Comrade, it’s the Americans! We must retaliate!

Gorbachev nods and picks up an ominous red phone and is about to give the command, but he halts when he hears the distant roar of jet engines. Still holding the phone, he stands, turns, and looks through a window into the sky…

Cut to the skies over Moscow. Several American B-52s under fighter escort close in on the city.

We zoom in on one of the bombers as the hatch doors open. Giant wooden crates fall out. As they fall, parachutes deploy from the crates.

Cut back to a close-up of Gorbachev, confusion on his face.

GENERAL: Comrade, shall we retaliate?

Cut back to the falling crates. The sides on top of one of crates fall away to reveal its contents:


As we pull back, other crates open to reveal pallets stacked with McDonald’s stuff–food, cups, napkins, visors, everything. They are sealed in plastic, with the Golden Arches prominently emblazoned on them.

Cut to a rear shot of Gorbachev staring out the window and dropping the phone to his side. In the sky, the restaurant and dozens of the food-laden pallets descend slowly.

GORBACHEV: No, Comrade… it’s already too late.

Cut to the Alexander Garden near the Kremlin. As the restaurant and pallets land softly, troops drop their weapons and rush to the McDonald’s. Hundreds of Muscovites crowd around as McDonald’s employees open the doors and start taking their orders. Whatever McDonald’s slogan was in 1987 appears on screen.

Now that’s a commercial. Maybe at the very end we cut to Gorby in 1997 wearing an Uncle Sam hat and eating a Big Mac. I also don’t know if we should have the Soviets speak Russian with subtitles, or if we should have them speak English in stereotypically fake Russian accents.

I guess this approach might work for other products… maybe Disney, maybe Nike, maybe Levi’s or whatever brand of blue jeans was most popular back then, but McDonald’s seems like the best fit.

My other idea for a McDonald’s commercial was to alter the scene from Pulp Fiction when Jules and Vincent go looking for the briefcase, and they find Brett eating a hamburger.

JULES: Now let me take a wild guess here. You’re Brett, right?

BRETT: Yeah.

JULES: I thought so. You remember your business partner Marsellus Wallace, dont’ya Brett?

BRETT: Yeah, I– I remember.

JULES: Good. Looks like me and Vincent caught you boys at breakfast, sorry ’bout that. What’cha havin’?

BRETT: Hamburgers.

JULES: Hamburgers! The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast. What kinda hamburgers?

BRETT: Cheeseburgers.

JULES: No no no no no, where did you get’em? MacDonald’s, Wendy’s, Jack-in-the-Box, where?

BRETT (indicating the McDonald’s bag on the table): McDonald’s.

JULES: Really?

JULES checks the bag. It’s packed full of BIG MACS and FRIES. He grabs the hamburger from BRETT, and takes the bag. JULES and VINCENT leave the apartment and close the door softly behind them. BRETT sighs the biggest sigh of relief in history.

Cut to McDonald’s logo and slogan.

That’s right, they would’ve left the briefcase. I should’ve gone into advertising.

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