Where’s the Beef!
Like it or not, in the fast food world, there’s McDonald’s… and then there’s everyone else.
Occasionally, though, an also-ran launches a nice shot across the bow, and for one brief moment in time, McDonald’s isn’t all that.
And so it was, on January 10, 1984, when we first saw a cute little 30-second commercial which, frankly, changed the world… at least for a few months.
Picture, if you will, three adorable elderly ladies, dressed in their Sunday best. They stand, huddled around a rather large cheeseburger. In the background, a simple, almost poetic, sign reads, “HOME OF THE BIG BUN”. Aye, it is a very big bun, but when our beloved protagonists inspect what’s lurking under that bun… ah, such disappointment. To their dismay, all that’s found is a devastatingly petite patty of overcooked meat.
“Where’s the beef?” one lady says. Yes, dear friend. Where is the beef, indeed?
Turns out the ‘beef’ was in this brilliant advertising campaign. Created by Saatchi & Saatchi, it became (almost literally) an overnight sensation. And Clara Peller, who voiced that iconic line, became a celebrity, invited to appear on (among others) The Today Show, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Entertainment Tonight, and, yes, even WWF’s WrestleMania 2.
As with all ‘hot’ things, it eventually jumped the shark. In March ’84, Democratic Presidential Candidtate Walter Mondale used it during a primary debate with Gary Hart (at 1:18 of this clip). And just like that, it just wasn’t cool anymore.
But don’t cry for Wendy’s. They did okay for themselves. Profits jumped 35% that year. And, sure, they’d bottom out again within a few years, but they’ve at least gone on to close the gap with Burger King.
Ah, “Where’s the beef”… If nothing else, it’s got a better ring to it than “I’m lovin’ it,” am i right? Or am I right?
We ♥ Where’s the Beef.