McDonald’s UK releases new Christmas ad called ‘Imaginary Iggy,’ and it’s leaving viewers in tears

The most recent McDonald’s promo released in the UK ahead of the holiday season has left viewers around the world in tears.

Burger enthusiast or not, the fast-food chain’s emotional Christmas ad titled “Imaginary Iggy” will leave you sobbing. The 1-minute and 30-second commercial features an imaginative young girl named Matilda, who brought to life her fluffy and lovable imaginary friend, Iggy.

The holiday ad, set to UK popstar Mabel’s piano-ballad rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time,” begins with a young Matilda drawing on the floor over Christmas. She sketches a blue creature with green horns, black ears, and red and white socks.

The young Matilda in the McDonald's 2021 Christmas advert

Upon looking up, Matilda was surprised to discover that her drawing had come to life. She then feeds the creature with McDonald’s carrot snacks, renamed “Reindeer Treats” to fit the season. Matilda and Iggy instantly become best friends.

Fast forward to a few Christmases, an older Matilda, dressed as a reindeer, was about to put on a show for her family in their living room. However, she was frozen with stage fright.

Thankfully, Iggy was there to save the day. The creature, standing behind her family, cheers her on and performs the choreography with her. This gave Matilda the courage to start her performance, and she happily finished it with Iggy’s help.

Matilda and her imaginary friend

As the commercial continues, Matilda is shown as a teenager busy texting on the couch. Iggy is lying on the floor as the family sits together to watch a movie.

Suddenly, she gets up from the couch and goes to her bedroom, removing Christmas decorations and a drawing of Iggy on her wall.

She then handed Iggy the piece of paper and led her invisible friend inside the wardrobe to hide. Iggy obeyed but visibly looked upset as the teen left her behind.

Matilda's family photo

A few seconds later, Matilda’s friends enter her room, suggesting that the move was meant to keep them from seeing traces of her childhood.

In the next scene, a mature Matilda visits a McDonald’s with two friends. As they sat at a table chatting, she saw a young boy holding a carrot stick up in the air, as though he, too, was feeding an imaginary friend like she would when she was a little girl.

Seeing the moment takes Matilda back to her younger years, and she rushes home to rekindle her friendship with Iggy.

A sad Iggy after Matilda led it in the closet to hide

At first, it seems like the creature has disappeared forever, but after a few moments, Iggy emerges behind some coats and sweaters, smiling at his old friend. 

Matilda smiles back, and the pair go downstairs and sit out by the open doors to watch the stars in the night sky like they did all those years ago.

“Christmas is such as joyous time for children and adults alike – with this year set to be better than ever as families reunite all over the country after a difficult few years,” said Michelle Graham-Clare, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer at McDonald’s.

A little boy holding a carrot stick up in the air

“We’re confident our advert perfectly encapsulates the magic of childhood imagination which comes alive at this time of year and provides a helpful reminder that you’re never too old to make believe,” she continued.

“We are looking forward to seeing our customers’ reactions to the advert and hope that the friendship between Matilda and Iggy brings a smile to viewers when watching,” Graham-Clare added.

Older matilda smiling at her imaginary friend

The commercial was written by Leo Burnett London and directed by Bert & Bertie. For every download of Mabel’s version of “Time After Time,” she will donate 10 pence (13 cents USD) to the food charity, FareShare.

We’re pretty sure everyone who has watched the ad now wants their own Iggy, or at least an Iggy toy for the holidays. Make it happen, McDonald’s!

It’s too early to tell, but we can say this ad wins best Christmas commercial this year. Be sure to have some tissues nearby before you click on the video below—it’s going to be a real tear-jerker!

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