I made a mistake on that last post by totally forgetting that "Meet the Robinsons" also didn't have a fast-food tie-in. Thanks to sharp reader barry for pointing that out! I apologize for sloppy blogging but I guess since "Ratatouille" is all about food it's understandable but I would make that connection while watching "Ratatouille" but not necessarily while watching "Robinsons". And as Will Finn points out, "Home on the Range" didn't have Happy Meal toys either.
While we were working on "Home on the Range" we all always assumed that it would have the usual McDonalds tie-in and the common joke was that the Big Mac would be renamed that "Big Maggie" and that a burger would come with Mrs. Caloway's hat on it. Also we figured they would start making McNuggets with a new shape to look like the chicks in the movie.
Anyway, whenever I make a mistake on the blog, I like to make up for it by relating some weird and/or painful story about my career in this crazy business...so here goes.
When McDonalds bailed on promoting that movie I figured the same thing would happen to "Chicken Little". I always thought Chicken Little's head looked exactly like a McNugget shape, and I guess I thought the fact that McDonalds serves chicken would make somebody stop and think that a tie-in was a bad idea, but then again "Chicken Run" did it with Burger King so apparently people aren't too disturbed by the connection.
One of the weirdest meetings I ever got invited to was a meeting between Disney bigwigs and McDonalds people to brainstorm how to market "Chicken Little" with McDonalds. We were all in a big conference room, and the head promotion person for McDonald's was on a speaker phone on the table. All these people in the room were throwing out lots of ideas with tons of enthusiasm, trying to win over this woman on the speaker phone, who seemed to be so disinterested that she was practically comatose. She was just this disembodied voice that after every idea would pause and then come back with a response like "nah...." or "mmmmm, I don't think so."
Anyway before the meeting I had been told to board out some ideas for McDonald's commercials with Chicken Little. So after all the frantic boarding on the movie I had sat down and scribbled out all these ideas for commercials with the CL characters. So I'm the only artist at the meeting and I'm sitting at the conference table with a giant stack of storyboards in front of me, and as I hear this woman respond to everyone else I start silently praying that nobody will remember I'm there. I keep looking at the stack of paper in front of me and wondering if I can pull it into my lap so nobody will notice it, or if it's better to just sit still and hope nobody sees me. I'm thinking that there is no way my pitch will be comprehensible to a woman on a speakerphone and that I don't really want to work hard to sell my ideas to someone that seems so uninterested in everything.
Luckily, being a nobody is actually useful sometimes and nobody remembered me or my ideas. As I recall, nothing ever seemed to click in this meeting and the woman hung up on us with a disgusted sigh at the end of our hour together. I threw my ideas into a drawer and that was that! After that bad taste of working with McD's I decided to avoid those type of meetings from then on. The reason I remember it was because that was one of the few times I ever boarded something that nobody - and I mean nobody - ever laid eyes on. I still have them somewhere, I think...I can't remember what my ideas were, though.
Ah well, maybe some things are better left forgotten.