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MediaRadar’s 12 Ads of Christmas: 5 Onion Rings

MediaRadar’s 12 Ads of Christmas: 5 Onion Rings

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This week we continue the tradition of recapping the most notable brands spending on advertising across ad tech platforms, consumer media and B2B industries. And, of course, this is all styled after the most involved carol out there: the 12 Days of Christmas.

On the fifth day of Christmas, MediaRadar sent to me:

12 Engines Revving
11 Boxes Shipping

10 Brands a-Sponsoring

9 Pharmas Placing

8 Planes a-Flying

7 Banks a-Buyin’

6 DSPs Distributing

5 Onion Riiiiings! (that’s today!)
4 ???
3 ???
2 ???
And a ???

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Up today is the refrain we probably all sing with the most gusto (especially after a round or two of egg nog): five golden rings. 

It only makes sense that the stanza is replaced with fast food advertisers: the five onion rings. 

Below you’ll find the top five fast food advertisers; brands that have spent the most on advertising from January to November of this year, that is. Of course, this list doesn’t reflect viral successes like Popeye’s chicken sandwich number. 

If the relentless Christmas carols on the radio don’t put you in the holiday spirit, maybe a pizza special or Burger King sweepstakes contest will. 


McDonald’s took the top spot for fast food advertisers by a long shot, spending $400 million on advertising in 2019 so far. The ubiquitous french fry franchise spends prolifically on direct digital ads, TV commercials, programmatic placements and social media offers. They have plenty of creative to throw around, including this holiday-themed digital display ad focused on McDonald’s coffee offerings. 

Burger King 

Burger King, one of McDonald’s biggest and most direct competitors, has spent $295 million on advertising YTD. Spending spans native ads on Reddit to print ads in major US newspapers. The burger chain is known for pushing the boundaries on advertising. It made headlines late last year with its Whopper Detour campaign, which used geofencing to offer 1 cent Whoppers to customers within 600 feet of a McDonald’s location. 

Taco Bell 

The beloved fast food, corporate version of a taco shop came close to Burger King in terms of advertising spend: $280 million YTD. The fast food brand runs plenty of display ads, like this holiday-themed creative, but also spends heavily on sports-related properties like Yahoo Sports and MLB TV. 


Domino’s has spent $245 million YTD on advertising across the board. Spend includes social media ads on Snapchat, display ads on sports properties and TV promos. Like many of its competitors, the pizza chain runs holiday-themed creative toward the end of the year. 


Wendy’s spent less than half of what McDonald’s spent on advertising in 2019: $170 million total. So far at least. The fast food joint hasn’t run holiday-themed ads in the recent past, though it does keep up with Snapchat ads and programmatic placements on sports properties.