The “person who runs McDonald’s account” texted again, this time to share that brand icon Grimace is hosting a birthday party beginning June 12. To celebrate, McDonald’s is offering a Grimace Birthday Meal, with a limited-edition purple shake, the choice of a Big Mac or 10-piece Chicken McNuggets, and fries.
McDonald’s is also launching an exclusive video game for the occasion, in collaboration with Krool Toys. The immersive game includes Grimace and other McDonaldland characters, such as Birdie and Hamburglar, in a quest to cut his birthday cake. The game will be available free on desktop and mobile devices beginning June 12. And of course there’s also Grimace-inspired merch – from t-shirts to socks – available on GoldenArchesUnlimited.com beginning June 12 while supplies last.
“Our fans have amazing childhood memories of their birthdays at McDonald’s, and Grimace’s Birthday is all about paying homage to the amazing, fun moments we all share,” Tariq Hassan, chief marketing and customer experience officer at McDonald’s USA, said in a statement. “We’re excited to put a modern spin on these memories to continue to drive McDonald’s relevance with a new generation. Grimace is the perfect lovable icon to have McDonald’s meet our fans at the intersection of nostalgia and culture.”
According to People, Grimace was first introduced in 1972 as “Evil Grimace,” who stole all of the cups from McDonaldland to stop customers from ordering drinks. McDonald’s eventually changed the character to make him softer and less scary, and he played the part of Ronald McDonald’s best friend. His last public appearances were the 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and a 2022 Super Bowl commercial parodying cryptocurrency. According to McDonald’s, Grimace is from Grimace Island and comes from a huge family that includes his grandma, Winky, aunts, Millie and Tillie, and his uncle, O’Grimacey.
No doubt nostalgia marketing is a big deal for brands now, and several restaurant companies, from Burger King to Pizza Hut, have jumped embraced the trend. Some researchers believe that the pandemic and other global crises have created a larger demand for comfortable/nostalgic content. For its part, McDonald’s is not only leveraging Grimace, but also recently brought back the Hamburglar to promote its burger upgrades. The character was first introduced in the early 1970s but hasn’t made many appearances since the 2015 rollout of McDonald’s sirloin burger.
In addition to the meal and merch celebration, McDonald’s is also offering a philanthropic tie to Grimace’s birthday celebration. Customers who visit McDonald’s Instagram story from June 13 and June 14 and share a picture of their favorite birthday memory via the “add yours” sticker will trigger a $5 donation to the Ronald McDonald House Charities organization.
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