We’ve discussed the impact of nostalgia on marketing. (Nostalgia is when someone longs for a different time period when they were happy.) We usually think of nostalgia as being an older person longing for an earlier time period or event. Perhaps it is caused by seeing or wishing for something that happened when a consumer was younger.
Marketers know how to use those desires. For example, Mattel recently brought back several older toy lines to gain more adult buyers. And now McDonald’s appears to be following suit by launching a limited edition of “adult Happy Meals” that include not only food, but older versions of collectible toys.
Why the adult meals? Well, that’s easy. McDonald’s hopes to lure back older consumers to the fold by reminding them of the pleasures of toys and burgers (or chicken nuggets). For a limited time, when ordering the adult Happy Meal, one gets slightly warped figures of Grimace, the Hamburglar, and Cactus Buddy (new figure).
The collaboration with Cactus Plant Flea Market for the toys is a little unusual for McDonald’s as CPFM represents younger designs and apparel for a streetwear market.
The meals have different packaging and higher prices. Adult Happy Meals range from $14.09 to $17.99. Demand has been high with most franchises sold out of the meals. And buyers are already flipping their toys on resale sites such as eBay with reports of sellers pricing the toys for thousands of dollars (although a recent search show much lower prices).
Don’t you feel like a kid again?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Have students define the target market for McDonald’s. Then have them define the adult Happy Meal target market (demographics, psychographics, etc.).
- View ad: https://youtu.be/sYdNnkz1bik
- View brief video story: https://youtu.be/p5ZfSlwMz8g
- Have students do a search on social media for the toys. What had the response been on social media?
- Also have students search resale sites for the toys.
- Divide students into teams. Have each team identify a product that could be revamped for a different market segment.
Sources: Gallagher, J. (13 October 2022). With adult Happy Meals, McDonald’s sparks a collecting frenzy. Wall Street Journal.