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McDonald's new emotional Christmas ad 'Imaginary Iggy' is seriously a tearjerker

Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
/ Source: TODAY

McDonald’s U.K. released its nostalgia-heavy 2021 Christmas ad and it’s certain to tug on everyone’s heartstrings.

The holiday commercial ad — titled “Imaginary Iggy” — is fittingly set to Mabel’s piano-ballad cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” as it follows a shy girl, Matilda, through the years of her adolescence during the holiday season. By her side is her imaginary friend, Iggy, who she draws as a child and immediately comes to life. After feeding him “reindeer treats” (carrot sticks), the two bond, and he becomes a source of holiday spirit and a confidant for her.

The next scene, Matilda has gotten a bit older, and Iggy helps her through a dance routine dressed as a reindeer in front of her family, who give her a round of applause. After she takes her bow, it cuts to Matilda as a teenager as she texts on the couch next to her family, with Iggy laying down at her feet. Eventually, she gets up to exit the room on the phone, leaving Iggy looking sad and disappointed.

The ad then finds Matilda in her prime teenage years, awaiting the arrival of two of her friends to hang out. Before they get to her room, she takes down her Christmas decorations, including the photo of Iggy she drew when she was a child. Instead of keeping him in the open, she hands the photo to her invisible friend and leads him back into her closet.

Iggy and Matilda.
Iggy and Matilda.McDonald's UK / YouTube

The end of the commercial finds a grown Matilda at a McDonald’s with a few of her friends where she witnesses a young boy holding a carrot stick up in the air to his own invisible friend. She smiles at the scene before it cuts to er back at her childhood home on a search for Iggy.

Matilda returns to her closet, but looks disappointed when it appears empty. After a few moments, Iggy emerges from behind some coats and sweaters, immediately smiling at his old friend. Like old times, the two sit out by the open doors with a plate of carrots as she points to the sky.

The commercial was directed by Bert & Bertie and was written by Leo Burnett London. For every download of Mabel’s version of the song, a 10 pence (13 cents USD) donation will be made to the food charity, FareShare.

“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,” Michelle Graham-Clare, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer of McDonald’s U.K. said in a release.

“We want to make sure that McDonald’s is on hand to help the British public get Reindeer Ready on the lead up to the big day. 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.”

Viewers had an emotional reaction to Iggy and the tear-jerking advertisement from McDonald’s, taking to social media to share their reactions.

"I just cried at McDonald's Christmas ad 😭,” one viewer tweeted alongside a link to the video.

One viewer had a personal connection to the commercial, tweeting, “You’ve won best Christmas advert: I have a teenager & she’s packing away her childhood — thanks for giving hope that things will come back as she grows up #ReindeerReady."

“Well snap.. the first Christmas advert in 6 years to bring anything close to a tear to my face... I salute you,” a viewer admitted in one tweet.

Another appreciated McDonald’s for the dose of childhood nostalgia, writing, “Oh thank you for those sweet memories of yesterday when imaginary friends where once very real! Bawling my eyes out.”

The commercial also had plenty of viewers asking where they could get their own Iggy, or at the very least, and Iggy toy this holiday season.

Over the last few years, viewers have gotten to experience a fair share of tear-jerking commercials around the holiday season. Last year, the Dutch mail-order pharmacy Doc Morris had viewers crying as the viral commercial followed an older man on his journey to get in shape in time for Christmas with his family for one heartwarming reason.