Ten years before Ben Stiller's security guard would play fetch with an animated T-Rex skeleton in "Night at the Museum," McDonald's and Leo Burnett Chicago paint a charming minute-long museum vignette for Super Bowl XXX.
The ad deploys several key tactics from the Super Bowl advertising tool box: special effects (see also Kia's "Space Babies" and the Canned Food Information Council' "Brilliance"), fantastic prehistory (see also FedEx's "Stick" and Avocados From Mexico's "First Draft Ever"), dog jokes (Budweiser's "Cry, Rex" and Skechers' "Go Run") and even security guards (HotJobs.com's "Security Guard," E-Trade's "Security Guard Fantasy"). And that's without forgetting to remind viewers that they want the product.
In an era before marketers frequently released Super Bowl ads early, McDonald's could be coy about the premise beforehand, telling USA Today that the commercial would show a security guard being alarmed by a surprise character. "McDonald's won't say what the character is, or in what form it appears, just that he's big and hungry," USA Today wrote. "And that he's scarier than Ronald McDonald." Sounds like Grimace, but no.
"Dinosaur" placed fifth on the 1996 edition of USA Today's Super Bowl Ad Meter, which ranks entertainment value among a small panel of people as the game airs.
McDonald's has been an intermittent Super Bowl advertiser over the years, picking its spots for ads such as "Tough Day" (2003), "Lincoln Fry" (2005) and "Pay With Lovin'" (2015). Its best-remembered Super Bowl ad is the instant-classic "The Showdown" (1993). Rival Burger came to the big game less frequently with ads such as "Find Herb" (1986), "Used Cars" (1995) and the musical extravaganza "America's Favorite" (2006).
Burnett handled creative for McDonald's from 1981 through 2016, along with other agencies including DDB.
AGENCY: Leo Burnett
QUARTER AIRED: Q2