How McDonald’s advertising descended from James Dean to Cat Douglas in two decades

In the Nineties, McDonald’s Australia brought us James Dean:

In the noughties,they brought us Inner Child:

And now? They’ve got this:

That’s progress for you.


  1. Groucho
    11 Mar 13
    11:12 am

  2. A demonstration of the inevitability of the product life cycle – as the intelligent and discerning consumer has moved on from McDonalds and the other purveyors of fat and sugar they have to appeal to an audience closer to the bottom of the barrel. As the standard of the offer declines so too does the standard of the advertising. There was a time when ,if you worked on McDonalds you would own up. Now it has become a guilty secret.

  3. Mediaman
    11 Mar 13
    11:59 am

  4. they shot in Toowoomba when it wasnt raining!!!

  5. David Thomason
    11 Mar 13
    12:23 pm

  6. Thanks Mumbrella – you’ve reminded me of the tremendous pride felt by the great Paul Jones in conceiving this game-changing James Dean spot – and directed, as I recall, by the equally great David Denneen. Simply outstanding.
    Both deserve special places in the history of Australian advertising.

  7. Macman
    11 Mar 13
    12:43 pm

  8. Bring back James Dean – beautiful production

  9. Miller
    11 Mar 13
    2:26 pm

  10. Lets not forget McD’s got sued for the James Dean bit. Awesome idea and execution, only forgot they were unlawfully using someone else’s image.

  11. ivan ardon
    11 Mar 13
    4:26 pm

  12. The james Dean was Paul Jones (may god rest his soul in peace) at his uncompromising, inspirational and trailblazing best. It was an original big ad.

  13. Jeff
    12 Mar 13
    11:43 am

  14. I have a crush on this reporter type girl.

  15. memories
    12 Mar 13
    1:28 pm

  16. Dear David and Ivan,
    I think you’ll find the James Dean ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ McDonald’s idea [and shot beautifully by David Deneen] was actually created by Ade Casey. And I think you’ll also find she originally created the idea for Wrigley’s [another DDB client].

  17. Rushdie
    12 Mar 13
    2:42 pm

  18. Betcha there’s a planner in the works.

  19. David Thomason
    12 Mar 13
    3:57 pm

  20. Thanks, ‘memories’. I knew Ade well – she also did some great work for me at Tip Top. DDB produced fantastic work during that time (although I can imagine why Wrigleys didn’t go with this one)

  21. memories
    12 Mar 13
    4:57 pm

  22. Thanks David. You’re right about Ade – a great talent. My previous comment had no other purpose than to ensure Ade is given appropriate recognition for work she created. No-one at DDB ever disputed Ade created the James Dean spot – not once, but twice!!

  23. goodone
    12 Mar 13
    6:04 pm

  24. That James Dean spot is amazing.

  25. Tom
    13 Mar 13
    3:29 pm

  26. Snore.