MCGLOBAL

Must-watch McDonald’s commercials for local menu items from around the world

The golden arches, through a local lens.
The golden arches, through a local lens.
Image: AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File
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It’s conventional wisdom that McDonald’s represents a bland Americanization of global food—no matter where you are, you can order a very okay hamburger and the same golden, delicious fries.

This is only partly true. You can order those items in pretty much every corner of the globe, but there’s also plenty of variation on McDonald’s menus. In the US regional specialities reign: the lobster roll in New England, bratwurst in Wisconsin, and biscuits and gravy in parts of the South, as well as limited-time-only items like the Shamrock Shake, and the McRib sandwich.

Around the world, menus get even more interesting. From Durian McFlurries to poutine, McDonald’s doesn’t shy away from shapes and flavors that would be unfamiliar in San Bernardino, California, where the burger giant as we know it today got its start. Many of these global specialities cater to local preferences, include stroopwafel sundaes, breakfast porridge, and shrimp burgers, as well as a host of vegetarian options. Some even have their very own advertising campaigns. Here are six that are at least as fun to watch as the item they’re promoting are to eat.

D24 Durian McFlurry, Malaysia and Singapore

D24 durian is a milder flavored version of the infamously fragrant Southeast Asian fruit, and of course a durian McFlurry is a seasonal treat in Malaysia and Singapore. This ad is a marvel of economy—the special McD-branded durian handling gloves tell you everything you need to know about how seriously McDonald’s takes the task of properly dealing with the world’s most aromatic fruit.

McAloo Tikki, India

There is really nothing not to like about these singing, dancing, Bollywood potatoes. You can even sing along with the handy karaoke lyrics.

McKroket, Netherlands

This sandwich looks absolutely appalling, but there’s something so pleasantly downmarket and basic about this ad, it feels like a Mentos commerical redux. McKroket, the freshmaker! Also, the dig at American tourists at the end is well placed.

Kiwi Burger, New Zealand

Putting sliced beets on a burger became a point of antipodal pride sometime in the twentieth century, first in Australia and then in New Zealand. This vintage McDonald’s commercial from the 1990s celebrates not just questionable burger toppings, but all things Kiwi in a very enjoyable, very nuts kind of way.

Smoked Meat Poutine, Canada

This is the most unnecessarily fancy commercial for a pile of fries covered in gravy, cheese, and smoked meat imaginable. Jeff Petry is a hockey player for the Montreal Canadiens, but for some reason this commercial seems to be referencing Oceans 11, which has nothing to do with hockey, Canada, McDonald’s, or poutine.

Prosperity Burger, Asia

Across much of Asia, McDonald’s rings in the lunar New Year with a special Prosperity menu consisting of a McRib-like beef or chicken patty covered in black pepper sauce, curly fries, a Prosperity McFizz drink, and assorted other specials, which change yearly. The commercials for the Prosperity menu aren’t nearly as creative as the Bollywood potatoes. Instead they’re fascinating in their proof that McDonald’s can take nearly any local custom, dish, or celebration and reduce it to a molded patty of emulsified meat product.