CosMc - The Forgotten McDonald's Character
Throughout the massive catalog of #HardwayHQ podcasts from 2011 onward, there has always been a subtle reference to a “cosmic” satellite when it comes to guests that call in for an interview. Some might not necessarily understand the reference or where it comes from.
Contrary to popular belief, #HardwayHQ does not have a satellite. With our limited budget, we are unable to avoid the legitimate purchase of one of those.
However, the term cosmic is nothing more than a reference to a reference to my childhood and never being able to grow up. In truth, it’s related to one of my all-time favorite characters from the old McDonald commercials.
The late 1980s to early 1990s were loaded with advertisements from McDonald’s. Ronald McDonald, the loveable and goofy clown, was the mascot behind the biggest fast food chain in the world. Inside this revolutionary campaign from the 1970s into the 1980s, Ronald was the leader of characters within the McDonaldland Universe.
McDonaldland was, in my mind, one of the greatest campaigns ever to exist in advertising. Utilizing characters to enhance the brand of Mickey-D’s, Ronald and his group of friends exuded positivity and friendship to personify the “Good Times, Great Taste” of McDonalds, while branding them towards different items on the menu. This included Birdie the Early Bird (Egg McMuffins), Grimace (Milkshakes), Hamburgular (the burger), Officer Big Mac (self-explanatory), Mayor McCheese (cheeseburgers), the Fry Kids (French fries), the McNuggets (if you don’t know what they represent, I give up), and the Happy Meal Gang.
The fact that McDonald’s were able to expertly brand by using characters and representing “food, folks, and fun” to kids made them a boatload of money and subsequently made them a recognizable brand throughout America. I mean, I still am able to link these characters to the brand to this day.
However, throughout my childhood, I’ve still never been able to decipher what exactly COSMC was supposed to be.
The McDonaldland character CosMc debuted in 1987 during a commercial called “The Story of CosMc”. Right in the middle of a park area, a metal canister falls right in the path of Ronald, the Grimace, and the Professor (another long forgotten McDonaldland relic). As soon as Ronald knocked on it, up came a very unique creature. The organism popped up and bluntly said, “Hello Earthlings. CosMc here. I’m from outer space and I’m on a trade mission.” Not even giving the three a proper chance to process what just transpired, Ronald questioned simply, “Trade?” and CosMc started bartering moves with each of the McDonaldland representatives. After a few shrewd, quick moves, CosMc then decided to give Ronald a bouquet of space flowers and took his picnic basket of McDonald burgers and Chicken McNuggets.
THAT, within a thirty-second period, annoyed Ronald enough. Quickly, similar to Batman and his utility belt, McDonald pulled his McMagnet out of his pocket and magnetically pulled CosMc back, basket in hand. Ronald bartered a sharing mission instead, and the foursome devoured the McDonald’s meal. CosMc then promised to tell his people about the great McDonald’s cheeseburgers. Then he took off and went to his home planet. It quite possibly might have been one of the strangest things I’ve ever witnessed.
Over the years, CosMc and Ronald became pals and traveled outer space together, going through the Milky Way Galaxy to get a Happy Meal through the “fly-thru”. CosMc was also a feature part in the cult-classic M.C. Kids video game for Nintendo as a part of the most difficult level of the game. In truth, once the 1990s hit, CosMc was gone as fast as his attempt to swipe Ronald’s basket.
I honestly believe it was the confusion of what exactly CosMc was for his lack of longevity with McDonald’s. If you take a look at him, it was clear he was a combination of three things. And since this IS the Professional 3, I’m going to explain exactly what three things CosMc had to have been.
PART ALIEN: Naturally, from what CosMc explained in his first words in McDonaldland, he was from outer space on a trade mission. An orange skinned creature with 6 arms, 2 legs, and a sweet pair of high tops, this creature look more like a space slug than the stereotypical alien you’d see on television. Plus, the fact he and Ronald traveled in outer space to go to an authentic space McDonald’s really opens up the original fact. There is not a dispute here.
PART ROBOT: This is where CosMc really becomes a unique breed. The metallic costume really showcases way too many buttons to be a space suit. His quick getaway from getting Ronald’s basket, combined with his blast off post-delicious meal, shows that CosMc has machine tendencies in him. There is no doubt in my mind that he is part robot.
PART SURFER DUDE FROM CALIFORNIA: Now, this is where I get a little conspiracy theorist on you. Seeing that Area 51 in Nevada is only 500 from California, combined with the fact that CosMc was caught saying words like “Awesome!” and “Later, dude!” makes me believe that CosMc was actually a human. A surfer from California got kidnapped by McDonald’s operatives and, combined with the government, implanted a chip in his human brain and combined genes with an alien and pieced it back together with a robotic body to create CosMc, a creature to spread the word of McDonald’s to an alternate dimension. THINK ABOUT THAT ONE!
This has been all in good fun. The truth is that, no matter what, CosMc is a cult figure in the world of fast food mascots. I appreciate the attempt at something different from McDonald’s as it comes to branding and trying something different. However, similar to Poochie in Itchy and Scratchy, CosMc went back to his home planet, never to be seen again. I would love to see a nostalgia run with CosMc and all the McDonaldland characters one day; with the way corporate America is now however, I highly doubt it.
Regardless, CosMc will always be remembered as the forgotten McDonald’s character. And that, to me, is out of this world with lunacy.
Plus, long story short, it is why I call things the "CosMc Satellite" on #HardwayHQ; because he was in space, a robotic being, and just overall awesome.
Jon Harder firstname.lastname@example.org @TheJonHarder