McDonald's has been around for more than 60 years and has seen plenty of funny and wildly popular promotions, but in 2022, one such promotion was its most successful and disappointing at the same time: the Adult Happy Meal.
In late September, the chain issued a press release attempting to explain what would become the adult happy meal. The release will be a first-of-its-kind collaboration with fashion brand Cactus Plant Flea Market.
It will feature a redesigned box, a resurgence of its iconic characters, and two meal options: a Big Mac or Chicken McNuggets.
At first, many fans didn't quite see the connection between the obscure fashion brand and the Golden Arches which gave some of their favorite mascots including Grimace Hamburglar and Birdie a set of four eyes as well as a new name. Cactus Buddy.
The two sets of eyes were part of the Cactus Plant Flea Market branding, but unless one was familiar with the fashion brand the connection was vague and a little creepy.
Despite questionable marketing, the Adult Happy Meals sold out in less than a week, leading to shortages of some menu items, confusion in stores and many angry fans who could not obtain them.
The huge increase in foot traffic alone, as reported by the restaurant business, put enormous pressure on workers who could not keep the boxes stocked for long periods of time.
In fact, such was the demand that food and merchandise from the toys landed on eBay in some cases for sums of up to $300,000.
For such a massive promotion, Forbes expressed that the company was underprepared and should at least increase the number of employees to meet the demand for indifferent behavior.