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4 things your small business can learn from the success of the McDonald's adult happy meals.

McDonald's is one of the largest restaurant chains in the world. Their menu is set up for speed and consistency, but in the last few years they have not released any new products in the U.S.. So, how are they able to breath new life into their existing products, and how can you do the same?

Repackage existing products or services into a new "bundle"

The adult happy meal includes a medium soft drink, medium French fry, your choice of a Big Mac or 10-piece chicken nugget, and 1 of 4 collectable toys. These items are then packaged into a collectable box that is meant to mimic the shape of the regular happy meal box.

The edible items are nothing new, but they are synonymous with the McDonald's brand. They are products that McDonald's is known for and are profitable for them.

What products or services could you combine into something that your customers will find valuable? The second part of that is the most important. You can just willy-nilly combine products or services and expect your customers to like it. You need to think about the problems you customers have and how this bundle can help them solve a problem.

Partner with another brand

McDonald's could have easily designed their own adult happy meal box and toys, but by collaborating with streetwear brand, Cactus Plant Flea Market. Not only is McDonald's able to build cross-brand equity, but they are able to attract young adults who are fans of Cactus Plant Flea Market. This same group is also used to seeing Cactus Plant Flea Market products as collectors items.

Is there a local/regional brand (i.e. manufacturer, artist, non-profit, etc.) that your target market is also interested in and you're interested in working with? Create an initial pitch and connect with them about the partnership.

Promote nostalgia

Nostalgia is one of the elements of customer value. Most people have good memories of getting a happy meal after a soccer game or as a special treat on the way back to school after a dentist appointment.

So, by creating an adult version of the happy meal is a no-brainer and goes back to my earlier point about a new package adding value to the customer.

Leverage user-generated content

Sure, McDonald's created their own promotional content at the start of the campaign, but the amount of user-generated content as overshadowed that original content. User-generated content includes all of the social media posts, videos, news articles, etc. that 3rd party individuals create about the adult happy meal. This is free advertising and further expands your message.

In your promotional plan for your new bundle, be sure to allow for user-generated content (i.e. create a special hashtag) and how your brand will interact with that user-generated content (i.e. commenting, sharing, etc.).


All in all, a thoughtful marketing can have a real impact on your bottom line (like it did for McDonald's). What can you do to leverage this same, or similar, strategy?

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