As part of a partnership with the fashion streetwear label Cactus Plant Flea Market, the enormous fast-food business McDonald’s announced on Thursday that it will be selling unique Happy Meals for grownups (CPFM). People will have the opportunity to purchase one of four collector figurines of the McDonald’s characters, Grimace, the Hamburglar, Birdie, and a brand-new pal named Cactus Buddy, once it goes on sale on Monday.
High-end fashion label CPFM is well renowned for its quirky and humorous graphic design. The figurines that will accompany this meal resemble warped, cursed versions of the McDonald’s logo. For instance, Grimace has four eyes and appears to have been created out of clay by a little child.
The revelation that McDonald’s was creating Happy Meals for adults sparked a lot of internet clowning because Happy Meals are obviously designed specifically to entice children. The idea of an adult Happy Meal, according to one individual, “is the logical culmination of American culture,” while another person called it a “quite powerful measure of mental and moral degradation.” And although though I agree that the thought of grown-up adults visiting McDonald’s to purchase a “adult Happy Meal” makes my skin crawl, I also think the concept makes a lot of sense.
The slightly tacky and plastic-y aesthetics that came to represent McDonald’s toys influenced a generation’s taste. Moreover, whether we like it or not, several toy types that were formerly restricted to children’s play have become more common among adults. Since the launch of the first Funko Pops in 1998, the figurine line has become a major player in consumer trends and is expected to reach $1 billion in sales within the next five years.
Toys from Happy Meal are merely another type of collection. A generation of people, including millennials and older zoomers, grew up purchasing Neopets toys and miniature Sonic games from McDonald’s. A McDonald’s spokesman stated that the team is “actually repackaging one of the most nostalgic McDonald’s experiences in a new way that’s hyper-relevant for our adult fans.” It may seem a stretch to call a partnership with a streetwear company that is largely out of reach for the typical customer “hyper-relevant.” McDonald’s is correct, though, in that it can profit on the sentimental feelings of the group of customers who grew up eating Happy Meals.
The irony of it all is that McDonald’s doesn’t actually need to rename anything in order to sell to adults and convince them to purchase Happy Meals. Adults like previous Happy Meal partnerships with BTS and Pokémon. The only thing left to do is choose the ideal brand to partner with because the interest is definitely already there.
Although it may be humiliating to admit, McDonald’s Happy Meals influenced the palates of an entire generation. It makes reasonable that the company’s management would strive to re-engage the audience, which was once young but has since grown older. I wouldn’t be shocked if we eventually arrive at a time when McDonald’s simultaneously promotes several toy promotions targeted at both kids and adults.
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