Why is it that McDonald’s — arguably the company whose brand is most closely identified with numerous negative stereotypes about America — simply can not get those stereotypes correct when it runs ads overseas? Earlier this year, there were the McDonald’s UK spots that reduced the U.S. to poodle-carrying socialites and no-necked weightlifters, but those are laser-point accurate compared to the “Americans” being featured in bizarre McD’s ads coming out of France.
The whole running gag (pun intended) of the spots is that the “Grand Bagel Cheese” (not exactly something you’ll find at a kosher deli in NYC) and the “Double Shiny Bacon” (which sounds like a sex act whose meaning I don’t want to look up on Urban Dictionary) are so dang tasty that Americans will want to steal it from customers’ hands.
In the above ad, a red-white-and-blue clad hockey player skates in (to what appears to be a library?) to steal this hideous-looking monstrosity from a man on a cart. I like hockey as much as the next guy, but it’s certainly not a sport I associate with being American, unlike the three major team sports that were all invented in North America. The saying is “American as baseball and apple pie,” not “hockey.”
The following ad features innocent French McDonald’s customers who are approached by what are either hungry extras from should-be-forgotten ’70s and ’80s cop show CHiPs, or members of GOB Bluth’s Hot Cops squad:
Decades after Pamela Anderson first jiggled down the beach, Baywatch is still inexplicably brought up as an actual pop culture reference for America, as the final act in this triple-play of idiocy involves a buxom blonde rising from the water to beg a man for his Double Shiny Bacon:
“Perhaps the ads are a fitting tribute to the sandwiches they promote: Both are nonsensical amalgams of invented, or misunderstood, tidbits of American culture,” writes Slate’s L.V. Anderson of the spots.
Of course, American advertisers are just as guilty of playing up ridiculous Euro stereotypes, like the Gevalia “Cup of Johan” guy, or the Fiat ads that try to cash in on the notion of the sexy Italian seductress.
But a hockey player skating through a library to bully a bagel burger out of a guy on a motorized cart? That’s just someone taking the Mad Libs approach to scriptwriting.