On McDonald's Commercials, Ang Huling El Bimbo and Viral Marketing Strategies

Updated: May 11, 2015

McDonald’s recently launched a television ad that really got people talking. It’s simply titled “First Love“, but is more popularly known as the “McDo Huling El Bimbo Commercial” along with other similar titles.

After personally watching the commercial for the first time, I can’t help but admire the effectiveness of the advertisement in invoking emotional engagement to the audience.

One of my friends said to me that he really liked the ad because it was not hard selling the brand. Another one thought that it was very effective in appealing to the emotions but was not really sure how it all relates to the big picture – which is ultimately selling McDonald’s to consumers.

If you haven’t seen the commercial yet, then here’s a chance for you to watch it.

McDonald’s Ang Huling El Bimbo Commercial: “First Love”

So what are your thoughts about this ad? How did you feel when you first watched it? And more importantly, how does this commercial fit into the big picture of marketing your brand?

I’m no expert in the field of sales and marketing but I know that this ad has effectively captured it’s target audience: the below 30 young urban professionals, due to the following reasons:

  • Using the song, “Ang Huling El Bimbo” as the soundtrack. I think that the Eraserheads is arguably the most influential Filipino music artist of the 90’s and that song is one of the most memorable and popular from the band. Hearing “El Bimbo” immediately invokes a sense of nostalgia among the target market.
  • Using the act of dipping french fries into the hot fudge sundae as an essential part of the storyboard shows great market research from the marketing agency. This unusual practice is a guilty pleasure among many fast food goers (including me 🙂 ) and conveys an impression that McDonald’s knows who their customers are, which effectively translates to: “If they know what we like, then they know how to make us happy.”
  • Using the universal appeal of “First Love” as the central theme of the advertisement. This actually coincides with the I’m Lovin’ It (Love Ko ‘To in the Philippines) marketing campaign of McDonald’s that was launched around 2003. Moreover, if you’ll notice, McDonald’s commercials have consistently developed the brand not only as a product, but as something that is part of our lives. They always try to portray the McDonald’s experience as a heartwarming slice of every day life.

Combine all these principles and you have yourself a viral marketing campaign. In a general sense, connecting emotionally to your recipients increases the chances that your message will be forwarded to others and it will be talked about in social circles.

The McDo Huling El Bimbo Commercial, First Love, is just that. The sad and bittersweet story may say nothing about their products, but it has done more than enough to expose the brand beyond television.

To end, let me share with you another McDonald’s commercial that was able to effectively use emotional engagement to trigger a viral response from its audience. I hope you remember this one:

McDonald’s Gina-Karen Commercial: “Lolo”

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References and Further Reading:
McDonald’s Canada. “A History of McDonald’s Advertising Themes“. 2006.
Science Direct – Business Horizons. “Why pass on viral messages? Because they connect emotionally“. Indiana University, 2006.
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. “Eraserheads“. 2009.
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. “Ang Huling El Bimbo“. 2009.


  1. a friend from an ad agency told me mcdo shot that commercial because the company’s sponsoring the e’heads concert in march. ^_^

  2. I’m also guilty of dipping french fries in sundaes! =P Anyway, this ad reminds me of how effective Coca-Cola ads are.

  3. Indeed, this commercial is very good because it captures the heart of both young and old audience. I like this ads compare to the commercial aired last holiday season

  4. Shet, the best ang commercial na to as in. Basta McDo ang Coke ang gaganda ng commercials, medyo sad nga lang but simply the best…

  5. this ad’s ending is very unconventional. it has really a recall to the viewers because it is something unforgettable for it’s kinda tragic.

  6. Hmmm, let’s just say tanggalin natin yung Eraserheads na song dun sa commercial will you feel the same in terms of intensity? If may long pause ka and you said Yes…haha liars! Domino effect lang yan I like it coz he/she liked lang yan 🙂 Pero ok lang yan jan kumikita ang mga companies and ad agencies

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