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Who Was Mac Tonight, The Piano-Playing Moon Man Who Got McDonald’s Sued?

6 Apr 2020 11.5k views11 items

McDonald’s has a long and fascinating history in PR, marketing, and advertising. From eye-catching and fun mascots like Speedee and Ronald McDonald, to purposely created product scarcity, to catchy phrases like "I'm Lovin' It," the pioneers behind the Golden Arches have proven to be masterminds of the marketing craft over and over again. Of all their advertising undertakings, the Mac Tonight commercials represent one of the most successful McDonald's ad campaigns to date. At least 27 spots starring the Mac Tonight "Moon Man" aired during the peak of its four- to five-year campaign.

Portrayed by a young Doug Jones wearing a Mac Tonight mask, Mac was the epitome of cool, as far as crescent moon-headed coolness goes. Depicted playing a piano and singing jazz-themed jingles, the McDonald’s Moon Man became an instant hit the world over. He appears innocent enough, but behind the catchy tune and smiling visage lies a history entangled in homicide-themed pop songs, lawsuits, the so-called "Burger Wars," and racially offensive internet memes. Read on to learn how the seemingly innocuous Mac Tonight went from iconic fast-food mascot in the late '80s, to alt right-manipulated imagery in the 2000s, to a retired animatronic in one of the world's largest McDonald’s locations.

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