Fast food companies have given us some of the most memorable commercials and jingles in advertising history. From short-but-sweet gems like “I’m lovin’ it” (McDonalds) to longer jingles such as Burger King’s “Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us …” many of these commercials not only boosted revenue, they’re still stuck in our brain years later. Then there were the commercials that, successful or not, were definitely strange. Here are a few bizarre fast food commercials from the past, many of them from the earliest days of the franchises.
10. KFC: Woman Does Housework, Husband Gets Chicken
Want a vivid illustration of how much the role of women in society has changed in the past 50 years? In this 1967 commercial, a stay-at-home wife shines her husband’s shoes, vacuums, dusts and does other mundane chores. Her husband rewards her by bringing home take-out Kentucky Fried Chicken — which they eat by candlelight(!)
9. Little Caesars: Man Has Very Bizarre Day
A man finds his lost dog, a brother he didn’t know he had, and his girlfriend accepts his wedding proposal during a brief visit to Little Caesars.
8. Dairy Queen: Flamethrower Sandwich is Hot
Apparently, the DQ’s Flamethrower Sandwich is very spicy. No actors were burned in the filming of this commercial.
7. McDonald’s: Donald Trump Amazed By $1 Burger
Future president Donald Trump wants to know how McDonald’s Grimace character created a tasty burger for just $1. As they peer together out the window of a New York skyscraper, Trump says, “Together, Grimace, we could own this town.”
6. Wendy’s: Primitive Early Commercial
This is clearly a low-budget ad for the then-relatively new fast food chain, which just a few years later would hit commercial gold with its “Where’s the Beef?!” campaign.
5. Taco Bell: Santa Offers Set of Collector Glasses
The voiceover for this commercial sounds vaguely familiar and perfectly normal — until you realize it’s coming from creepy Santa.
4. Captain D’s: Workers Take a Beating From a Fish
Captain D’s aired a series of commercials showing people eating other fast foods take a fish-tail slap to the face. Looks like it would hurt.
3. KFC: Women Hook Col. Sanders to Lie Detector
In a desperate bid to learn the secret recipe behind Kentucky Fried Chicken, several women apparently kidnap Col. Sanders and give him a lie detector test. Very strange, but the company’s secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices remains today. In fact, that recipe is locked inside a vault in corporate headquarters in Louisville. This commercial aired around 1967.
2. Burger King: ‘Creepy King’ Commercials Go Viral
This is one of the rare ad campaigns that started out so bad, it became good. Burger King commercials that began airing in 2003 featured a bizarre, plastic-faced, smiling “King” in various situations. Dubbed “Creepy King,” the commercials generated so much buzz the company eventually embraced the figure.
1. Pizza Hut: First Commercial in Company History
Behold the first commercial in Pizza Hut history, which aired in 1965. “Putt Putt to the Pizza Hut” not only dramatically boosted the company’s sales and national profile, it ran for eight years and was nominated for a prestigious ad industry award. It’s odd to see the take-out pizza wrapped in paper, and not delivered in the ubiquitous pizza box we’ve known seemingly forever.