This Week’s Cartoon: “Old McDonald’s Had a Farm”

Blogging this one a bit late, as it’s been a busy week. I had a big freelance deadline, spazzed my lower back out, and hosted my sister-in-law and her husband while waddling about like a duck. But better late than never, right?

I originally intended to draw a cartoon about that douchetastic governor of Maine who wanted to remove a mural depicting the history of labor from the Department of Labor. But while checking Daily Show clips to see if they’d done my idea (they had, dammit), I came across this utterly ridiculous McDonald’s ad touting the artisanal nature of Big Macs. It’s only 17 seconds — check it out!

I just love the perky smile on the McDonald’s employee’s face as she pours her heart and soul into that Big Mac. Notice those chic, Asian-style bowls she’s grabbing the pickles and lettuce from. Why do I get the feeling those are not standard-issue at all McDonald’s? And then there’s the barn. Why, all Big Macs start out in cute little red barns, don’tcha know!  Heck, why go to your local farmer’s market at all when you can get hand-crafted, 100% beef burgers, lovingly made just for you by a chipper woman in a cute ponytail?

On a related note, my friend Anne pointed me to this article, in which a photographer compares advertised images of fast food with what you actually get.

[UPDATE: Here's a video on how burgers are prepped to look perfect in ads -- fascinating!]


  • Anne S

    Two favorite bits in the linked article? 1) The note accompanying the actual burger pics: “Rotated to most attractive angle.” 2) The mental image of someone meticulously placing individual shreds of cheese on that Taco Bell taco to achieve maximum random artful scatter effect.

  • Jen Sorensen

    The “Slightly fluffed up, for picture” line is also golden.

  • Glenn Fleishman

    My suggestion for advertising guidelines for food is that customers depicted must be 75th percentile of average weight among demographic that eats such food.

  • Jen Sorensen

    Yes, and it also looks like that McD’s woman is working in a tranquil monastery. Where’s the sweat and screaming kids and sense of overwhelming chaos and despair?

  • Hieronymus Fortesque Lickspittle

    Too funny, I worked at Mickey D’s as a teenager and know the special sauce used to be squirted out of a tube with what resembled a caulking gun!

  • Mr Ed

    At McDonald we start with the only best ingredients selected by a team of accountants for maximum profitability. Our burgers are assembled using techniques learned from 70 years of Soviet industrialism. As a final touch each of our burger technicians add a health dose of apathy for that special one of a kind taste.

Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.