The visuals on social media are appalling. A body is hanging from the trunk of a sedan, dripping purple goo. The other is wrapped in a basketball hoop with a netting that has been painted lilac. A third person is writhing in a bathtub covered with dark handprints.
The liquid spilled on these floats is not blood. This is an insanely purple milkshake from McDonald’s.
There has been a backlash on social media in recent weeks since McDonald’s released the Grimace Shake as part of the Grimace Birthday Meal, a menu item that highlights the brand’s signature clown, Ronald McDonald’s purple, blob-like supporting player. . The limited-edition drink has become a key ingredient in a TikTok trend in which users craft elaborate horror scenes – with Grimace as the implied killer.
Each video begins with a TikTok user pretending to give an enthusiastic review of Shake. This is followed by a shot of a man immersed in a beverage amid twinkling lights and eerie music – sometimes he appears dead, sometimes as a corpse.
Would McDonald’s be concerned that people are pretending to drown in one of its products? Or portray one of its mascots as a murderer? Probably not, said Jonah Berger, associate professor of marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
“It’s free advertising,” he said. “Not only is it increasing awareness of the brand, but it makes the brand cool among a key demographic, which is young people.”
McDonald’s acknowledged the trend in a post on Wednesday TIC Toc and Twitter. The company did not respond to a request for comment.
Got inspiration. He drove to McDonald’s and ordered one. Then, he filmed himself wishing Grimace a happy birthday and taking a sip. Next, he lay down on his kitchen floor and instructed his wife to turn the area into a “crime scene” using the blood as a marker.
He said, “He put some on my mouth and some on the ground.” “I was just saying, no, you have to dump the whole thing.” Mr. Frazier said McDonald’s hasn’t contacted him since the trend began. “They owe me a fat check for all the shakes they’ve sold,” he joked.
Several fast-food brands have released stunt items that seem designed for social sharing, such as Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Tacos and Pizza Hut’s Hot-Dog Stuffed-Crust Pizza, In 2020, McDonald’s released a meal in collaboration with Travis Scott created an online frenzy,
Jared Watson, assistant professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, said The Grimace Shake was probably another play to attract attention online. The shake is a shocking color, and its flavor is not defined by the company, making it amenable to debate.
TikTok users inject their own absurdist twist. “Part of that trend is an act of rebellion,” Dr. Watson said. “They’re saying, we’re looking at what you’re doing, and we’re taking it in a completely different direction than you expect.”
The shake has introduced many young customers to Grimace, a character with a perpetually happy or helpless expression. He appears to be less well-known than his companions, Hamburglar and Mayor Macchiese, and his identity has remained a mystery since his first appearance in the 1970s. in 2012, the company said Grimes was “the embodiment of the milkshake”. others have argued that the grimace is a huge taste bud,
Dylan Zitkus, 18, a content creator in Chicago, said he hadn’t heard of Grimace before seeing the TikTok video. He bought a large Grimace shack for the purpose of participating in the trend.
“I didn’t want to do it at first, because you have to pour the milkshake over yourself,” said Mr. Zitkus, who described himself as lactose-intolerant. “It’s cold. It’s unpleasant.”
He said he gave up after other Grimace Shake videos were viewed more than five million times. He wore a white shirt and went to the park with a friend around 1 a.m. Video It didn’t take long to film, but it did take a while to clean up.
“My neighbor looked at me and said, ‘What are you doing?'” Mr. Zitkus said. “I like, long story.”