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The Hamburglar is back - Does anybody care?

It’s been mentioned a ton on this site before, but nostalgia in advertising is currently what’s hot. McDonald’s has jumped on this trend by reintroducing a character that’s long been a part of their history - of course I’m talking about The Hamburglar.

The Hamburglar initially appeared in 1971 as part of McDonald’s Mcdonaldland community. Decked out head to toe in stripes, the character is known for his burger-stealing prowess. He’s known for his mumbling phrase “robble, robble.” That version of the character was a mainstay in McDonald’s advertising up until 2002, when the character stopped appearing in commercials. The name has reappeared this year largely because of Ottawa Senators goalie Andrew Hammond, who adopted the Hamburglar nickname, and has inspired fans to throw burgers on the ice.

Well, McDonald’s felt it was time to bring back the character and he’s gone over a dramatic makeover.

This loveable rascal that we all know looked like this….



Has been rebranded to look like this..


That’s quite the dramatic recreation. We go from a Hamburglar who looks like a more cartoonish version of Mad Magazine’s Alfed E. Neuman, to a brooding, extremely handsome version of the character as a grown up.

Changing him that much takes out the fun, and childlike nostalgia we had for the character. Now it’s just some imposter who’s only resemblance to the original character is his costume.

Joel Yashinsky, McDonald’s Vice President of U.S Marketing in a statement to Mashable said they felt now was an appropriate time to bring him back.

“We felt it was time to debut a new look for the Hamburglar after he’s been out of the public eye all these years. He’s had some time to grow up a bit and has been busy raising a family in the suburbs and his look has evolved over time.”

Does anybody actually want a grown up Hamburglar?

Anyways, McDonald’s dropped it’s first Hamburglar commercial last week. There’s not much to it. The first time we see the rebooted Hamburglar character, he’s flipping burgers with his family, while discovering McDonald’s is launching a new sirloin burger, which sparks his interest in becoming the masked man again.

That’s bad, not atrocious, but it’s bad.

The next spot makes it seem like he’s a superhero rediscovering a costume after years of living a normal life, check it out:

That one was kind of lame.

The most recent ad takes the cake for showing how dumb this idea was - coincidentally it’s also the first appearance of the character in costume. In this spot we see the Hamburglar outside of a McDonald’s, where he get’s a phone call after mentioning he’s back. His wife continues to call him and interrupt his promotional pitch with real life issues, such as making sure he’s picked up candles and cake, and monitoring where he is. Watch it for yourself.

The main issue with this commercial, aside from it’s sheer pointlessness and lack of generating any interest in what it’s supposed to be advertising, is it looks like it was written, filmed and edited in about 10 minutes. The costume looks weird, the dialogue sucks and it’s clearly a green screen behind him. I know McDonald’s has been going through some financial issues, but they certainly could have sprung for a bigger budgeted commercial.

This campaign sucks, and the response on social media has been hilarious.


I wonder if McDonald’s will bring back other familiar characters - maybe we’ll get a sexy Grimace who’s family left him because he couldn’t stop talking about the good old days. Or a new Mayor McCheese reappearing as a corrupt sociopath, who’s set on taking down McDonaldland and it’s crime fighting vigilante Ron McDonald. I’d watch those - not whatever this is supposed to be.

Liam McGuire

About Liam McGuire

Liam is a contributor across the Bloguin Network for Awful Advertisements, Puck Drunk Love and The Outside Corner. He's also contributes to the TSN Analytics radio show and Vice Sports.