Tag Archives: packaging

McDonald’s Offers Adult Happy Meals – Complete with Toy

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:

  1. Have students define the target market for McDonald’s. Then have them define the adult Happy Meal target market (demographics, psychographics, etc.).
  2. View ad: https://youtu.be/sYdNnkz1bik
  3. View brief video story: https://youtu.be/p5ZfSlwMz8g
  4. Have students do a search on social media for the toys. What had the response been on social media?
  5. Also have students search resale sites for the toys.
  6. 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.  

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Forget about Coffee Pods. Use Coffee Balls

Raise your hand if you drink coffee every day. Yep, we thought so – lots of caffeine is used in students’ lives. Coffee is an essential part of our daily routine. The types of brewed coffee may vary, but coffee is consumed around the world and represents a significant export to many countries.

Americans alone drink 400 million cups of coffee every day; 85% of Americans have at least one cup of coffee at home each day. While estimates vary, about 42% of U.S. consumers own a single-cup coffee brewing system (such as K-Cups). Consumption of K-Cups now exceeds 30 billion units annually. That’s a lot of plastic waste!

While consumers love convenience, that convenience carries a cost to the environment with respect to the waste generated. Although many types of K-cups are now recyclable, couldn’t more be done to marry convenience with sustainability?

The answer to that question is a resounding “yes.” A new coffee brewing system is coming first to France and Germany from Swiss company Migros. The brewing system is called “CoffeeB” and it uses compressed balls of coffee grounds which are encased in a thin, tasteless, seaweed base that can be composted. The coffee balls will be available in multiple blends including espressos to decaf coffee and will include organic coffee options as well. No plastic waste!

Drink up!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who drinks coffee? How much? How is it brewed?
  2. Show video of CoffeeB system: https://youtu.be/49eo8F2H7zY
  3. Show Website: https://www.migros.ch/en/content/coffeeb
  4. Divide students into teams. Have them us their laptops to research the coffee industry.
  5. Build an environmental scan of the factors impacting the coffee industry: social, economic, technology, competitive, and regulatory.
  6. What are the opportunities and threats for CoffeeB?
  7. Alternative assignment: Develop a marketing plan for introducing CoffeeB in the U.S.

Sources:  Rothman, L. (6 September 2022). How a ball of coffee could change your morning routine forever. Tasting Table.

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“Shrinkflation” Takes Hold in Product Sizing

The small things matter. Small in this case meaning the quantity in a package. In case you haven’t noticed lately, prices are going up and contents are going down.

If you’re not sure about this, consider the new sizes of common household products such as toothpaste and toilet paper. Example: A Crest toothpaste once contained 4.1 ounces of teeth-whitening product, but now contains 3.8 ounces. Gatorade was 32-ounces, but not it is down to 28 ounces. And (in case you are counting sheets) a roll of Cottonelle toilet paper has shrunk to 312 sheets, compared to its former count of 340 sheets.

Meal portions at restaurants have also been impacted. At Subway restaurants, the chicken wraps and sandwiches have less meat now. Domino’s Pizza reduced the order size of boneless wings to 8 pieces from the usual 10 pieces. Burger King is also downsizing its nugget meals from 10 to 8 pieces. What is going on?

At first glance none of this seems too alarming, but this movement is called “shrinkflation” and tends to not retreat once implemented. Shrinkflation is when manufacturers cut down on the product size or volume in a package, rather than raising the price on the customary size. This happens during times of increasing raw materials and supply chain cost increases. It’s not illegal, but it does seem a little sneaky. And, once the new sizes and prices have been accepted, new standards are in place for consumers and their wallets.

Are your foods shrinking?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What have they observed in their purchases? Are the sizes or prices the same?
  2. Show video about shrinkflation: https://youtu.be/q13_06F4_HI
  3. Discuss why manufacturers are making these changes. What are the reasons?
  4. How is shrinkflation accounted for in pricing?
  5. Discuss various pricing models: demand-oriented, cost-oriented, profit-oriented, and competition-oriented.
  6. Which pricing model is being used with shrinkflation?
  7. Offer an outside assignment for teams of students. Have them visit a local store and examine products that illustrate shrinkflation.

Sources:  Patton, L. (12 May 2022). Fewer nuggets, smaller salads: Shr9inkflation hits U.S. Restaurant Diners. Bloomberg.; Skores, A. (16 May 2022). Inflation up, product size down. Dallas Morning News.; other news sources.

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