I’m having a hard time digesting this ad. First off, it draws upon McDonald’s marketing brilliance which relies upon a mnemonic memory device— a simple melodic jingle–to program our memory. The song is catchy and weird, perfect for the Gen X ironic set.
But then the creepiness factor sets it.
How do we reconcile the cute animated fish with the factory-processed soma sandwich it wishes to consume? This has always baffled me: why does the Pollo Loco place have a guy in a dirty chicken outfit outside its restaurant advertising cooked members of its species inside? Or any food product that portrays animals as funny cartoons when in fact the product being sold is something from a house of animal horrors? I guess I answered my own question. It seems as if the talking, cute animal characters of the food industry are meant to create a bit of cognitive dissonance regarding what we eat so as to distance the food’s reality from having any meaningful spiritual connection to our bodies.
Fast food advertising traditionally attempts to divorce the food from the animal and factory farm source and make it seem as though it had grown on trees (quite literally in the case of past McDonald’s efforts which have included artificial trees with plastic hamburgers growing on them in children’s play areas). In this case, however, McDonald’s alludes to the true source of the sandwich, fishing (massive, destructive overfishing in fact), but then turns the idea into a dark comedy, asking the viewer to laugh off the absurdity of how a complex organism like a fish (in this case an intelligent, singing one) could have become the “delicious” friend brown rectangle they are pushing into their mouths.
Unfortunately, this fish is viral.