McDonald's New Christmas Ad Will Have You Sobbing Into Your Fries

by Erica Gerald Mason
McDonald's Christmas ad featuring a girl and her imaginary friend Iggy.

McDonald’s U.K. introduced a 2021 Christmas commercial and it’s quite an emotional ride

It’s like the Golden Arches have created an amarillo-colored cage around our hearts — one that gives holds up pictures of babies or puppies (and accompanied by an instantly-recognizable song arranged in a minor key). After one viewing of a touching commercial…boom. You’re in a nostalgic haze, choking back tears while you gaze into the middle distance.

The chain’s newest holiday commercial is called “Imaginary Iggy” set to (quelle surprise) a piano-ballad cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.”

The commercial finds a young girl, Matilda, as she meets her imaginary friend, Iggy. Young Matilda draws her bestie, and he immediately comes to life. After feeding him what we’re assuming is a UK McDonald’s side dish of “reindeer treats” (carrot sticks), the two become fast friends, and they set out to enjoy the holiday season.

In the next scene, shy Matilda had Iggy close by to help give her confidence to perform a cute lil dance routine (whilst dressed as a reindeer) in front of her family. After her living room performance, her family (and Iggy) give her a round of applause. Next up is Matilda as a teenager. The teen texts on the couch next to her family as they watch what we assume is a holiday special, with her best buddy Iggy laying down at her feet. Matilda gets a text on her phone, and she leaves to answer it, leaving Iggy looking confused.

This is where it turns. Where we knew it was coming (because it happens to all of us). Matilda as a teen clearing all signs of childhood from her room before her two human friends drop in to hang out. Matilda arrives in her bedroom a few steps before her friends, and she takes down the drawing of Iggy she kept from when she was little. Embarrassed, she gives the drawing to her invisible friend and gently pushes him into the back of her closet, away from her friends.

Matilda! Why?!

But then. (And there’s always a but then), a grownup Matilda stops by a McDonald’s with her friends! She sees a little boy holding a UK-McDonald’s-side-dish-of-reindeer-treats-otherwise-known-as-carrot-sticks up to feed his very own invisible friend! She smiles and remembers Iggy.

There’s a brief moment of doubt as Matilda runs to her closet and opens the door, searching for her childhood wonder. Matilda’s brow furrows. Has she lost her wonder? No. Iggy slowly emerges from the back of the closet like those embellished jeans you bought on super sale in 2006. Together, the pair fling open the doors of her childhood home while she leaves a plate of UK-McDonald’s-side-dish-of-reindeer-treats-otherwise-known-as-carrot-sticks in the snow for Santa’s reindeer.

“Oh my god McDonalds you’re not allowed to make me cry like that,” one fan of the video tweeted. “Iggy is so cute #ReindeerReady.”

Basically, none of us were expecting McDonald’s to destroy our hearts and souls like this, but so glad to see the ad at least has a happy ending. Long live Iggy and childhoods everywhere, especially this time of year.