What the Happy Meal can teach us about branding

As Clint Eastwood (playing Dirty Harry) once said, “a man’s got to know his limitations.”

Switch out “man” with “brand” and “limitations” with “strengths,” and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what makes McDonald’s a marketer worth emulating.

Case in point, the Big M’s revival of its classic Happy Meal toys.

During the promotion, which debuted last week in honor of the Happy Meal’s 40th birthday, customers receive McNugget Buddies, My Little Pony, Hamburglar and other beloved toys with their kid-sized burgers and fries.

The full details are of the offer, which goes through Monday, Nov. 11, are available in this press release.

There’s no doubt this nostalgia-fueled campaign was an inspired decision, but what does it have to teach us about connecting with our own audiences?

The lesson is simply this: don’t miss an opportunity to make the most of your (and your brand’s) uniqueness.

The Golden Arches certainly didn’t when they decided to make a big deal out of the Happy Meal’s anniversary. And they went a step further in recognizing the sentimental value attached to the various toys that have come in the iconic little boxes over the years.

On top of that, pop culture is (and has been, for some time) on a nostalgia kick, so there’s also something to be learned from Micky D’s sense of timing.

Sure, few of us have assets like the immortal Happy Meal under our belts, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something you can seize on — whether you’re selling burgers or baseball equipment.

We’d love to talk about your own version of the Happy Meal — possibly over a literal happy meal. If not, email or a phone call will do just fine. Either way, reach out to Fluency Digital for a FREE consultation today.

Declan Desmond