It might be hard to believe, but the McDonald’s Happy Meal is 40 years old in 2019! And while the food is certainly tasty, the main attraction when it comes to Happy Meals is often the toys. Take a look at these real ads that show how the Happy Meal’s toy offerings have changed throughout its run.
Happy Meals through the years
The Happy Meal first debuted at American McDonald’s in 1979. The brilliant idea to include a popular toy with these kids’ meals was a success, to say the least—believe it or not, McDonald’s is the largest toy distributor in the world. And the Happy Meal, with its smiley box, kid-sized food portions, and (of course) included toy, is the fourth most popular item on the McDonald’s menu. (Curious what’s ahead of it? Here’s the answer.) And it’s also 40 years old, as of 2019! Take a stroll down McMemory Lane with these ads advertising classic Happy Meal toys from the 1980s to the 2010s.
1988: McNugget Buddies
The edible McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets debuted in 1980 and became a Happy Meal option in 1984. Four years later, McDonald’s consumers got these mix-and-match, career-spanning toy versions. With a design reminiscent of Mr. Potato Head, McNugget Buddies had removable parts like hats and shoes. Some even came with peel-off stickers for some additional detail. Did you know these 12 other fun facts about McNuggets, too?