McDonald's teamed up with artist and streetwear influencer Kerwin Frost to create a special Happy Meal box featuring a McNugget Buddy collectible, marking their first return in over 25 years, according to a press release.
The Kerwin Frost Box will feature one of six unique Buddies, each personally designed by the artist. The collaboration will also offer merchandise, including vintage pieces from Frost's personal archive and Fry Guy shoes inspired by one of the Buddies. The box and collection are set to debut on Dec. 11.
This initiative, which also encompasses a TV spot, social media components, AR, and a tie-in with gaming content, represents the fast-food giant's most recent effort to evoke nostalgia for the brand, following the successful Cactus Plant Flea Market collaboration from last year.
Why change something that's already working: McDonald's is revisiting the pool of childhood memories associated with the brand, a strategy that has proven successful in connecting with customers, creating excitement, and increasing revenue.
McDonald's latest collaboration with the multi-talented artist and DJ Kerwin Frost taps into the trendy worlds of fashion and music, connecting with millennial and Gen Z nostalgia for the McNugget Buddy collectibles from 1988. The new Kerwin Frost Box, featuring McNuggets or a Big Mac, fries, a soft drink, and a collectible, is part of McDonald's effort to transform Happy Meals into a stylish option for adults who are into streetwear. Following the success of their previous collaboration with Cactus Plant Flea Market, which caused a frenzy in some stores, McDonald's is continuing to push the boundaries of fast food and pop culture.
Tariq Hassan, the chief marketing and customer experience officer at McDonald's USA, stated that with last year's Cactus Plant Flea Market Box, they were able to evoke the childlike joy of opening a Happy Meal box for fans of all ages. He mentioned that fans expressed a desire to relive that iconic childhood experience. In addition to this, McDonald's plans to launch various digital and social activations, including an Instagram handle for the Buddies (@mcnuggetbudds), an interactive AR lens on Snapchat with Bitmoji integration, and a content hub on gaming site IGN for the Buddies.
Furthermore, the collaboration will feature a TV spot and a collection of merchandise, which are essential components for this type of initiative, especially considering Frost's background in fashion; the artist has previously teamed up with Adidas. As part of a philanthropic element, a portion of the proceeds from Frost's merchandise line will go towards supporting the Harlem Arts Alliance.
The new Buddies draw inspiration from Frost's childhood and emphasize the importance of self-expression. They come with a variety of outfits that can be mixed and matched, and each character is characterized by traits such as wisdom, bravery, curiosity, coolness, and creativity. McDonald's also drew on childhood experiences for their campaign around the birthday of their mascot Grimace, which was one of the most successful campaigns of the year, garnering over 3 billion views on TikTok and contributing to increased sales growth in the U.S.