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McDonald’s Shamrock Shake Through the Years

mcdonalds shamrock shake through the years

mcdonalds shamrock shake through the years

The Shamrock Shake goes on sale at McDonald’s locations nationwide this week. Believe it or not, this is the 51st year for the Shamrock Shake and in recent years, it’s gone through some changes.

Maybe the new-look Shamrock shake with its whipped cream and dome-top lid that makes it look like it came out of some specialty shop is what sells these days, but it doesn’t feel like a Shamrock Shake to us. Call us old-fashioned; we can take it.

Vintage McDonald’s Shamrock Shake Commercials

We were feeling a bit nostalgic thinking about the Shamrock Shake and decided to take a trip back through time to discover some of its best TV commercials before the drink got all gussied up.

Shamrock Shakes – The Early Years

These go back to the time when it all started. The Shamrock Shake debuted in 1970. And the specialty shake was a big hit.

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But early on, the marketing for the Shamrock Shake was a little … off?

Check out this creepy looking Grimace promoting the Shamrock Shake to a couple kids.

Obviously, that green Grimace really freaked everyone out so they reworked the concept and made the green Grimace Grimace’s uncle, Uncle O’Grimacey.


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In this commercial for the Shamrock Shake not involving the clown or any of his friends, you get a good look at a product shot, showing what we all grew up knowing the drink to be, just a wax paper cup filled with something green.

shamrock shake 1970s

No frills, no foams, no whips, just shake in a cup with a lid and a straw. We’re sure someone will complain about the cultural appropriation in this ad:

Shamrock Shakes of the 1980s and 1990s

Hopefully you haven’t strained your eyes too badly from looking at those commercials. Can you believe that’s how people used to view television on a regular basis?

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Things definitely improved in the 80s with regard to television picture quality and with Shamrock Shake marketing. And most importantly, they kept the shake a no-frills drink. Still the same cups as from the 70s.

Though there’s no year listed on this commercial, it’s definitely from the 80s but has a holdover 70s feel to it so it’s probably early-1980s. What’s up with the uniforms they used to have to wear?

This commercial for the Shamrock Shake that’s labeled 1980. It looks like they may have updated the uniforms a bit but still looks pretty 80s. We’re not sure what’s up with that mint sundae, though. That green syrup?

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Here’s one from a few years later:

Here’s a commercial from the late-80s or early-90s. We picked a video that showed the VCR tape tracking being adjusted just to give you an idea of what life was like back then:

21st Century Shamrock Shakes

So, eventually, McDonald’s didn’t believe that just pouring a milkshake in a cheap cup was enough so the Shamrock Shake grew up a bit. And so did its marketing.

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Apparently, this is Amanda Schull, who appeared on the show One Tree Hill.


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