One of the hardest things about becoming an adult is the joys of childhood that seem beyond your adult reach. Flintstones vitamins, after-school cartoons, and brightly colored Marvel Band-Aids can get you the attention of others. But now, thanks to McDonald’s, a bit of childhood can be enjoyed again.
On September 27, McDonald’s announced a new version of the Happy Meal – and this time it’s for adults. The chain is reinventing the experience in a whole new way by offering the Cactus Plant Flea Market Box.
For the exclusive collaboration, Cactus Plant Flea Market, a fashion and product line known for to be a favorite of the big names in hip-hop like Kanye West, Tyler the Creator and Pharrell, designed a box in the brand’s signature style alongside McDonald’s signature golden arches, complete with familiar and new character faces.
According to McDonald’s, the box will be available inside restaurants, at the drive-thru, on delivery or through the McDonald’s app from Oct. 3 while supplies last.
As for the food in the new adult version of the Happy Meal, McDonald’s said it made its most popular dishes available in the larger size box for adult appetites. Customers can choose between a Big Mac meal or a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets meal, both of which come with fries and a drink.
A Happy Meal isn’t a Happy Meal without a prize inside, which is why the brand includes one of four Cactus Plant Flea Market-designed collectible figurines with every box. And for that, Mickey D’s brings back retired characters from the past.
Buyers will receive one of three nostalgic McDonald’s mascots: Grimace, the Hamburglar, Birdie or Cactus Buddy! (yes, the exclamation mark is in its name), a new toy friend created just for the Cactus Plant Flea Market Box. The four characters see double – figuratively and literally – with four eyes on each character.
“We’re taking one of the most nostalgic McDonald’s experiences and literally repackaging it in a new way that’s hyper-relevant to our adult fans,” said Tariq Hassan, director of marketing and customer experience at McDonald’s USA. United.
“I look forward to treating fans to a unique work of art and culture as we dive together next week into the vibrant world of the Cactus Plant flea market,” he said. “With menu favorites like the Big Mac and McNuggets at the center of this collaboration, it’s another way to rekindle a new generation’s love for our food and the brand.”
As an added incentive, fans who purchase the Cactus Plant Flea Market Box on the channel’s mobile app will automatically be entered into a merchandise-based contest. Free merchandise up for grabs each week includes custom Cactus Plant Flea Market x McDonald’s t-shirts, sweatshirts, and even a chair designed to look like Grimace. Who wouldn’t want this at their home ?
Fans can find out how to enter to win without buying a box by visiting a creation of a special McDonald’s page before 11:59 p.m. ET on October 30. Entries are limited to one per day and entrants must still be MyMcDonald’s Rewards members.
As for why an adult Happy Meal sounds so exciting to an adult ear, the answer is simple: nostalgia.
“McDonald’s, because it’s been around for decades, can remind adult consumers of the ‘good old days’ via these Adult Happy Meals,” Kelly Goldsmith, E. Bronsom Ingram Professor of Marketing at Vanderbilt University told TODAY. Food. “It highlights a positive reason to drive into their drive-thru as opposed to someone else’s.”
Goldsmith adds that since McDonald’s has been around for so long, many of its advertising centers “just remind their customers that they exist.”
“There’s a lot of new and different competition in the fast food space, but one differentiating attribute new entrants can’t tap into is nostalgia and history,” she said.
If you do not wish to participate in the contest, the merchandise will also be available exclusively on McDonald’s x Cactus Plant Flea Market website starting Oct. 3 at 11 a.m. ET. The collection will only be available for a limited time while supplies last.