What started back in the fall with artists Travis Scott and J Balvin has expanded to a roster of your favorite holiday TV and movie characters. McDonald’s has announced new celebrity meals to those using the fast-feeder’s app, including the Grinch, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, Buddy the Elf (Elf), Scrooge, The Griswolds (Christmas Vacation), John McClane (Die Hard), Gizmo (Gremlins), and more.
The company is rolling out a new meal every day starting on December 14, with each available free with a purchase of $1 or more and ordered through the McDonald’s app. The promo ends on the 24th with free soft-baked chocolate chip cookies, which are—you guessed it—for Santa.
Clearly McDonald’s has now jumped clown shoes first into the celebrity meals thing, based on the success of the J Balvin and Travis Scott meals, the latter of which saw franchises actually running out of ingredients, and is credited with giving the company a 4.6% sales bump in U.S. stores . Now we’re moving into the realm of fictional characters, which gives the brand—and its licensing partners—the prospect of endless possibilities. Forget Happy Meal toys for the kids. This could be a treasure trove for movie promos aimed at all ages. A Peter Parker meal? A Harry Potter meal? A Black Widow meal? You get the point.
It’s all part of a new business strategy outlined in November, which aims to get its best customers using its app to order the classics for takeout and delivery while making them feel good about being so loyal. McDonald’s U.S. chief marketing officer, Morgan Flatley, told me back in November that the brand is trying to make its relationship with customers less transactional. “It’s like a quick hit and then you’re done, versus building an intense fandom and loyalty that exists with a lot of the most loved brands in the world. McDonald’s is one of the biggest and iconic, but I think our challenge now is to make it one of the most loved brands in the world.”
Part of that, whether it’s Travis Scott or Gizmo, is getting some of that love by drafting off pop cultural characters it has the marketing clout (and budget) to tap into. It’s just too bad Buddy The Elf’s meal isn’t his glorious spaghetti breakfast recipe.