The world’s oldest, most famous, limited-edition green dessert beverage turns 50 this year.
Not only is McDonald’s Shamrock Shake marking its half century of existence by returning to the menu in the lead-up to St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s brought along a new sidekick, the Oreo Shamrock McFlurry.
And apropos of the golden anniversary, McD’s has created a luxurious monument to its longevity: the Golden Shamrock Shake worth $100,000.
While the Shamrock has gone through some iterations since its first introduction back in 1970—green vanilla, mint flavor, chocolate, classy McCafe—this iced-out version may be the most accurate portrayal of the culture in which it finds itself. A hand-crafted, 18-carat gold cup, speckled with 50 green emeralds and white diamonds to connote its minty goodness, and 50 yellow diamonds as a nod to the golden arches, the chalice will be up for auction on the Ronald McDonald House Charity eBay page from February 25 at 5 a.m. ET until 5 a.m. ET. on March 6. Fans can also purchase a Shamrock Shake or McFlurry using McDonald’s app for a chance to win.
If last week taught us anything, we are in a golden age of over-the-top branded products. Tut tut the Quarter Pounder candles or KFC Crocs all you want, but there’s no question that these corporations are simply providing the supply our weird culture of pop nostalgia and commercial fashion demands. Some will take this as little more than an elaborate stunt, while others will only see Uncle O’Grimacey’s pimp cup.
The Golden Shamrock Shake represents a piece of corporate-sponsored art. Of all Andy Warhol’s work, he’s most famous for turning Campbell’s soup cans into art. Former Whitney Museum of Art chief curator and deputy director Donna De Salvo told Vanity Fair back in 2012, “It’s the most iconic. When you’re thinking of Pop art, of Warhol, you’re thinking of the soup can.” Because Warhol was an individual and not a corporation, it’s a fair debate over whether the series is a paean to consumerism or a sarcastic, damning critique.
When the brand itself creates the art, it can only be the former. At least it’ll be raising money for a good cause.
Shine on, you minty green fresh, limited-edition, 820-calorie diamond.