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7 Most Iconic Fast-Food Ads From the Past

How many of these do you remember?
fast food

These days, fast-food chains get free publicity from stunts like roasting each other on Twitter. But long before smartphones and social media, chains like Wendy's and McDonald's were advertising the old-fashioned way: with commercials on TV.

We rounded up some of the most out-there vintage fast-food ads, from Taco Bell to Dairy Queen. How many of these do you remember?

And for more nostalgia, check out these 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.

1

Yo Quiero Taco Bell

What '90s kid doesn't remember this Taco Bell-loving chihuahua? He was always running loose and getting into shenanigans, all in the name of tacos and Mexican pizza.

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2

McDonald's McNugget Buddies

In the '80s, animated McNuggets went on all sorts of capers, like solving mysteries and playing basketball. Although, it's a little creepy if you think about the fact that Ronald McDonald was going on these adventures with them, only to eat them for lunch later that day.

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3

Burger King's "Have It Your Way"

Today, you might be greeted with a groan or an eye roll if you ask for a custom order at McDonald's or Burger King. But at one point, Burger King's "Have It Your Way" ads encouraged customers to ask for things like extra ketchup or no pickles.

4

Dairy Queen's Kidnapping

At one point, Dairy Queen had commercials with an animated fairy as a literal Dairy Queen. She came into kids' windows Peter Pan-style and took them on a cloud with her to get some frozen treats. We doubt this kidnapping-themed ad would fly by today's standards.

5

KFC's Sunday Dinner

Before KFC had celebrities dressing up as Colonel Sanders, the fast-food chicken chain was trying to present itself as an easy (but still delicious) alternative to home-cooked meals. This ad promised all of the goodness of an elaborate Sunday dinner, with none of the work.

6

Arby's and Pac-Man

To promote the fast-food chain's limited-edition Pac-Man glasses, Arby's created this commercial where the video-game monster ate all kinds of Arby's foods and even the company's logo.

7

Wendy's Training Videos

OK, so the vintage Wendy's training videos on YouTube aren't technically ads. But they might as well be—you'll crave a soda and a burger from Wendy's after watching these. From how to pour cold drinks to "Grill Skills," Wendy's really tried to make these videos fun for new employees.

For more, check out these 108 most popular sodas ranked by how toxic they are.

Meghan De Maria
Meghan De Maria is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food, product, and restaurant coverage. Read more