Pop Culture Changes Our Perspective… or How a McDonald’s Commercial Has Ruined Beethoven.

The memory is a funny thing. I can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but given the right trigger I can remember something as small as a commercial from nearly 25 years ago… and I don’t just mean remember the commercial… I mean remember it verbatim.

My son, Caleb is 3 months-old now, and he has really taken to the child swing we have in the living room. It’s a Graco swing, and does the automatic-motion-with-mobile thing while playing an assortment of classical music pieces or nature sounds. Being that he is my son, he prefers the music, and I have to admit that the quality is actually pretty impressive.

What does this have to do with me remembering a commercial from 1986? Well, the first song that plays is Beethoven’s Fur Elise or (the Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor) and while it’s a beautiful piece of music, I cannot hear that song and not immediately think of the 1986 McDonald’s commercial entitled “Recital.”

At first, it was a charming little reminiscence… sort of a throw back to simpler times when we didn’t fast forward through every commercial, and a reminder of my childhood and how I would also go to McDonald’s following big moments in my childhood for a hot fudge sundae or Happy Meal… but now, I have come to realize that I can’t do anything but think about the commercial when I hear this song, and I can’t help but sing the “And I will eat the fries myself, and not give any to my dumb brother. They’re mine, all mine, all…MINE!” part.

I’m not really complaining because I am no classical music elitist or pop culture snob, but it would be nice to hear the song without having the commercial jump into my head and immediately cause me to think about how I too would like a chocolate milk shake, cheese burger and fries from Mickey D’s. Well done, advertisers… you got me 24 years later…

Is there a commercial or advertisement like that for you? Where one trigger event puts you right back on your couch watching the Cosby Show with your family in your PJs? Let me know in the comments.

8 Comments

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  1. I just came across this blog a zillion years after it was written, but can I just say that this is SPOT ON. I just bought a keyboard for my two young daughters (6&8), and there are a few songs pre programmed that the keyboard will play automatically. Fur Elise is a song that my kids have grown to really like in the 48 hours since purchasing this keyboard. The first time I heard it, all I could remember was the “And I will eat the fries myself, and not give any to my dumb brother. They’re mine, all mine, all…MINE!” part. SO clearly I had to take to google finding this commercial. I have now listened to this song countless times and I can’t hear anything else aside from the McDonald’s lyrics. I even showed my kids the YouTube video and they just responded. “Yea, let’s go to McDonald’s or fries and shakes” haha Advertising at it’s finest. 🙂

    So aside from this commercial which took me back the other one that I recall vividly is “I wanna be a Toys R Us Kid” I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a toys r us kid, there’s a million toys at toys r us that I can play with…. Do you remember that one?

    Anyway, thanks for this post, it made me laugh and realize that there’s at least one other person who is crazy and remembers this silly commercial.

    • Oh yes! Toys-R-Us had such a great jiggle, and this McDonald’s commercial always seemed to be placed with in a minute of the Toys-R-Us one. You’re definitely not the only one who remembers this commercial… Each day I can about half dozen or more hits from all over the world on this uber-old post!

  2. The very same commercial, though the line that comes to mind first is “… And also, woops! And also fries.”

  3. Dude. My daughter’s Baby Einstein crib soother is kicking out this jam right now and I was explaining this to her dad, who wasn’t born yet when the commercial came out. This post is dead on, all I hear is the little girl singing about her fries and her dumb brother.

  4. Sensory Memories are awesome! March 22, 2019 — 10:50 am

    I too am commenting late – but Fur Elise was ruined for me by this commercial also! (Although it is kinda nice strolling down memory lane whenever I hear Fur Elise.) It takes me right back to my couch in my childhood home. It’s unreal! Fur Elise came on the radio as I was sitting at my computer – my mind instantly quoted the same line without missing a beat – “I will not give any to my dumb brother.” So of course I had to google “McDonald’s Fur Elise Commercial” – and here I am. I was just musing to myself that McDonald’s hired a marketing genius back in the 1980’s! Now Debussy’s “Suite bergamasque” is on and all I can think about is the Bellagio fountain scene from the movie Ocean’s Eleven.

    • Yes! That scene from Ocean’s Eleven! It’s almost as though Claude Debussy had some sort of clairvoyant way of knowing that one day Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Matt Damon, and the rest of the gang would be gazing evocatively at the Bellagio fountain after the heist of the century!

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