‘80s Pop Culture Icons as McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys

McDonald’s launched the Happy Meal across the US in 1979, and it will forever feel very ‘80s. (Especially if you grew up in the 1980s.) Like so many ‘80s icons, the Happy Meal’s combination of tasty concept and slick packaging make it a design classic. The Toy Zone, a toy retailer, worked with CGI artist Jan Koudela to cook up imaginary Happy Meal toys and boxes in the style of our favorite and most iconic ‘80s screen heroes.

Top Gun

“Sometimes serving your country and quietly believing yourself to be “the best of the best” is not enough. Sometimes you want a trophy that says TOP GUN on it, too. When you’re casting that kind of arrogance, only one man will do: The Cruiser!”

More: The Toy Zone, Jan Koudela

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

“Matthew Broderick wasn’t a bad boy. Okay, so he nearly triggered global thermonuclear war in WarGames. And he became the poster boy for playing truant as Ferris Bueller. But these against-type roles worked just because he looks kind of smart and reasonable.”

The Shining

“Do you remember the Batman Returns Happy Meal? Millions of traumatized ‘90s kids can’t forget it. As it turned out, Batman Returns wasn’t a kids film, nor very ‘happy.’ “I think I upset McDonald’s,” recalls director Tim Burton. “[They asked] ‘What’s that black stuff coming out of the Penguin’s mouth. We can’t sell Happy Meals with that!’”

Sadly, a Stephen King Happy Meal would probably suffer the same fate. A shame, cos Dads in McDonald’s across the States would have loved tearing a tiny, ax-wielding Jack Nicholson out of the Happy Meal box and yelling, “Here’s… Ronny! McDonny!” at their confused offspring.”

The A-Team

“Our A-Team project posed a unique problem for our design team: which member of the “crack commando unit sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit” would be in the box? Leader ‘Hannibal’ Smith might have been our choice in the ‘80s. But, since his most iconic feature is his thinking cigar, we decided that wouldn’t cut it in a kid’s toy for the ‘20s.

With B.A.’s gold chains, muscles, and mohawk, it had to be Sergeant Bosco Baracus, instead. After all, “Bad Attitude” famously prefers milk to less unwholesome drinks and was tricked onto a plane when Murdoch pulled the ol’ switcheroo on his burger. Drink your milkshake, sucka!”

The Breakfast Club

“There’s a whole other piece to be done about “X Molly Ringwald Princesses.” But in the meantime, we’ve chosen her Breakfast Club character for our Happy Meal take on John Hughes’ Brat Pack-defining high school movie. After all, she was affectionately labeled a ‘princess’ by Brian (the Brain), played by fellow Brat Packer Anthony Michael Hall.

The Princess and the Brain are put in detention with three other high school archetypes (The Criminal, The Athlete, and The Goth ‘Basket Case’). The Princess’s only crime? Skipping school to go shopping. Guess she was too old to pick up the My Little Pony bookmark that was in Happy Meals at the time (1985), though.”

Knight Rider

“The ‘tough guy with iconic vehicle’ franchise was hot stuff in the 1980s. But while Street Hawk had awesome graphics and Airwolf had that theme tune, Knight Rider had a not-so-secret weapon: The ‘Hoff.

David Hasselhoff played Michael Knight, an undercover FLAG agent with a talking Pontiac Firebird called KITT. (Acronyms were also big in the 1980s.) This was the show that made Hasselhoff a household name. And his perpetual low-buttoned shirt gave a preview of Hasselhoff’s next iconic role in lifeguard soap opera Baywatch.”

My Neighbor Totoro

“Disney and McDonald’s have been partnering up for as long as children have been eating processed food, but we really wanted to see them get onboard with Studio Ghibli. Disney and Studio Ghibli have a history of quibbling, but whatever side of the fence you fall, this collab is fire. Now, if there’s one thing the world’s not short of, it’s Totoro merchandise. But McDonald’s is short of intercultural toys. Sure, McDonald’s Japan has its own range of locally-inspired ‘Happy Set’ toys such as Cinnamoroll and Sumikko Gurashi. (You can even swap your toy for a book if your kids are more literarily inclined.) But what does an American have to do to get a slice of kawaii with their burger?”

Blade Runner

“McDonald’s wasn’t the first fast food joint to issue a movie tie-in kid’s meal. Burger Chef released a Star Wars Funmeal in 1978 when there was still only one Star Wars movie! But imagine if McDonald’s continued the science-fiction streak that began with the 1979 Star Trek Happy Meal tie-in by putting a grizzled Harrison Ford/Rick Deckard in lunchboxes…

The original Blade Runner came out three years after Star Trek. The Philip K. Dick adaptation achieved only moderate box office success at the time, and it took years to develop first a cult and then a mainstream following. For this reason, TheToyZone reckons the Blade Runner Happy Meal toy would be super-valuable and hard to find these days – a bit like those pesky replicants.”

Labyrinth

“You can tell a lot about a person by asking them to name one iconic movie from the ‘80s. If they say Labyrinth, they’re probably a bit of a dreamer, a bit of a dancer, and a lot of a David Bowie fan. Bowie wasn’t the world’s greatest actor, but he wore a wig and bizarro-costume like nobody else. That’s why Labyrinth is his most memorable screen role.”

SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/09/80s-pop-culture-icons-as-mcdonalds-happy-meal-toys/

This UFO Spaceship McDonald’s Used to Exist in Alconbury, England in the 1990s

For many kids, getting a McDonald’s on a long drive would be the ultimate treat. And if you grew up in or around Cambridgeshire in the 1990s, you’ll probably remember getting a Happy Meal at the spaceship McDonald’s just off the A1 at Alconbury, near Huntingdon.

h/t: vintag.es

Originally built in 1990 as a Megatron, the restaurant was going to be the first of many in the chain. But the plans never happened, and instead the building became a McDonald’s in 1993.


The UFO Maccies sadly closed in 2000 due to soaring maintenance costs. It then remained empty for a number of years before it was demolished in 2008.


SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/07/this-ufo-spaceship-mcdonalds-used-to-exist-in-alconbury-england-in-the-1990s/

This Gold, Vintage and Rare McDonald’s Canada Employee Diamond Ring

For only $760 you can own this vintage beauty from the ’90s. Unfortunately, I could not find any information about who was given this ring, why and for what reason. It was probably awarded to the most successful employee or manager of the branch based on the financial results of the year.

More: Etsy





SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2021/02/this-gold-vintage-and-rare-mcdonalds-canada-employee-diamond-ring/

McDonald’s Surprises Parisians By Launching These New Unique-Looking Street Ads

When you think food advertising can’t get any better than it is now, someone finds a way to one-up the competition. It does raise the question of whether there is a point in advertising a thing we can’t live without, but I digress. McDonald’s has come out with an advert—a street billboard—in the streets of Paris that has been drawing people’s attention lately with its unconventional public ad...

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SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2020/09/mcdonalds-surprises-parisians-by-launching-these-new-unique-looking-street-ads/

A McDonald’s in New Zealand Lets Diners Eat Inside a Decommissioned Airplane

Shutterstock Airplane food takes on a slightly different meaning in Taupo, New Zealand. That’s because the small resort town on the North Island is home to one of the world’s most unique McDonald’s restaurants, which happens to be attached to a decommissioned airplane. h/t: insider Eileen Byrnes While you can’t order your food from the old Douglas DC-3 — the counters are located in the McDonald’s...

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SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2020/09/a-mcdonalds-in-new-zealand-lets-diners-eat-inside-a-decommissioned-airplane/

McDonald’s Campaign with Cossette Montreal Reminds Movers to Take a Break During Moving Day

​In the province of Quebec, Canada, most residential leases come to an end on the very same day. As a result, over 100K households pack their belongings and move into their new homes on what Quebecers refer to as ‘Moving Day’. To celebrate this unique tradition, McDonald’s Canada and Cossette brought to life a creative campaign to remind guests from across the province to treat themselves to...

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SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2020/08/mc-donalds-campaign-with-cossette-montreal-reminds-movers-to-take-a-break-during-moving-day/

Cool Vintage Photographs of Young Couple Looking to Get Married at a McDonald’s in 1977

In July 1977, a young couple was looking to get married. The owner of the McDonald’s where the man worked agreed to have the wedding at his restaurant in Cleveland for free. More: Dewan Gibson h/t: vintag.es However, the store remained open during the ceremony, and it was outside of peak hours, so the couple had most of the outside area to themselves. “My dad was 20 and spent most of his time...

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SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2020/08/cool-vintage-photographs-of-young-couple-looking-to-get-married-at-a-mcdonalds-in-1977/

McDonald’s Turns Billboards Into Bee Hotels

Without pollination from bees, 1/3 of the food we eat would be threatened. It is estimated that 30% of Sweden’s wild bees are threatened. A big problem is that they lack places to live. Therefore, some of McDonald’s restaurants have started producing billboards that double as bee hotels. The boards are permanent wood installations with drilled holes in the copy (“Always open”.

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SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2019/09/mcdonalds-turns-billboards-into-bee-hotels/

McDonald’s Japan Releases A Line Of Adorable Cups But People Are Finding Them Hilariously Inappropriate

kitsunekonnkonn Recently, to promote a line of McFizz soft drinks, McDonald’s Japan released a series of adorable cups featuring a boy and a girl in love. Now, they seem pretty innocent at first sight but people quickly figured out how to make them… rather inappropriate. They figured out that by combining and rotating the cups, they reveal some suggestive poses. And you better believe they didn’t...

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SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2019/08/mcdonalds-japan-releases-a-line-of-adorable-cups-but-people-are-finding-them-hilariously-inappropriate/

McDonalds Opens A Tiny Restaurant For Bees

NORDDDB/Youtube Bee colonies around the world are dying at alarming rates. No more so than in the USA, where it is estimated the 44% of colonies were lost in 2016 alone. There are many reasons for this alarming decline, most of which are down to us. h/t: boredpanda NORDDDB/Youtube Things like overuse of pesticides, diesel fumes, intensive farming practices and parasites from introduced species...

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SOURCE: https://designyoutrust.com/2019/05/mcdonalds-opens-a-tiny-restaurant-for-bees/