How McDonald’s is changing the Happy Meal conversation

(Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images) /

For many families, the McDonald’s Happy Meal brings smiles all around the table. It is more than a hamburger, fries and drink. The iconic box covered with special images can turn mealtime into entertainment. And, the special toy inside ensures that the fun does not end when the wrapper goes in the trash. Recently, the Happy Meal conversation is changing. Should everyone have the opportunity to enjoy this specially packaged meal?

When McDonald’s announced its Cactus Plant Flea Market Box, some people jumped for joy. The reimagined concept for adults had many people running to purchase that special meal.

As Tariq Hassan, McDonald’s USA Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer explained iconic menu items, like the Big Mac and McNuggets, combined with that entertaining packaging made going through the drive-thru fun again. As Hassan said, “We’re taking one of the most nostalgic McDonald’s experiences and literally repackaging it in a new way that’s hyper-relevant for our adult fans.”

While some stores saw the special meal’s popularity as overwhelming, the idea of reigniting the Happy Meal conversation in another way has merit. Instead of the parent just bringing smiles to the kids’ faces, it was about their own simple joys around the table. Even though some adults may not need a toy or a special container versus a bag, sometimes people can appreciate the break from the daily grind. Simple pleasures are often the ones that can turn that frown upside down.

Is the Happy Meal conversation a celebration of nostalgia?

After many adults ran to get their own adult Happy Meal, another offering is getting people excited. As the spooky season begins, the McDonald’s Halloween Pails are back. Although a spell had cast these pails into the Halloween lore, their triumphant return has many people believing it is the ultimate treat.

The McDonald’s Halloween Pails include McBoo, McPunk’n and McGoblin. Whether people get one or the whole trio, these pails can be the star of Halloween Trick or Treating.

While the kids might have fun filling that pail with candy, parents could be taking a trip down memory lane. Just like telling stories of a favorite Halloween costume, that Happy Meal is a serving of nostalgia.

Both the Halloween Pails and the Cactus Plant Flea Market Box are changing the Happy Meal conversation. While the McDonald’s menu item will always be tied to kids, giving adults a taste of that simplicity of opening a box and discovering that smile proves that it is not tied to an age.

Maybe these offerings are just the beginning. Instead of those celebrity meals, it could be time to unwrap a new type of happy in a box.