Saturday, October 14, 2006

Flashback Friday: Shanghai McNuggets

Once upon a time, in a McDonald's boardroom, a group of executives said "Hey, let's sell Chinese food." And someone else said, "Hey, good idea. Chinese food is popular. But it'll be expensive to develop a new product." And the other one said, "Nah, just sell Chinese-flavored sauces for the Chicken McNuggets." Thus, Shanghai McNuggets were born. Essentially, they were Chicken McNuggets sold with sweet and sour sauce, hot mustard, and teriyaki sauce. I remember liking these, but then I was a kid. It was actually okay, but then, you can't mess up Chicken McNuggets too much. Unless you ask where they came from.

Looking back, what strikes me most about this campaign was the incredible racism. I mean, it's barely Chinese food to begin with, but then they had the asian music and Ronald McDonald doing a karate chop. If they sold McNuggets with salsa, would they call it the Tijuana McNuggets? And having Ronald McDonald running across the border or riding in the back of a pickup truck? Actually, I can see that. I better not give McDonald's any ideas.

I couldn't find much information on these at all. I almost started to think I made it up until I found an entry at Wikipedia. And even that didn't have much. But there was much informal discussion on them on a thread at X-Entertainment. There was also a thread on about them.

Fun Facts:
* Shanghai McNuggets came in Chinese take-out boxes and came with a fortune cookie and chopsticks.
* The box included instructions on how to use chopsticks.
* McDonald's employees had to wear a bamboo Coolie hat to promote the Shanghai McNuggets.
* The Shanghai McNuggets were discontinued pretty quickly, but I don't know the exact year.
* In China, McDonald's sells Shrimp McNuggets.


ChinaLawBlog said...

When was this? I just do not remember it at all.

Monkey Migraine said...

It was in the mid-80's. Oddly enough, I couldn't find much information on it. Check Wikipedia, there's a brief entry there.

Anonymous said...

This does take me back. I thought they were great at the time, but you raise some legitimate concerns. I remember the commercial showing someone using chopsticks to dip the nuggets. Yeesh, ad guys can be stupid.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I had remembered these during a discussion about bizarre fast food offerings and here was your post. Like you, I was beginning to think I was losing it but you confirmed that these existed.

Like the anonymous poster above, I remember the commercial too. In a nod to people who didn't know how to use chopsticks, some enterprising young man just stuck a bunch of mcnuggets on a chop stick like a shishkebob... but that's all I remember about it.

pmisner said...

I instantly fell in love with the actress in those commercials, Corrine Bohrer. I was 19 or 20 at the time, I called McDonalds to find out who she was and was given the name of the ad agency. I called them and was told that "we don't give out the names of our talent" So my first love was kept away from me all these years.

Anonymous said...

I worked at a McDonalds in a college town during the Shanghai McNuggets promotion. I threatened to quit over the coolie hat. They relented and didn't make me wear it.