McDonald’s uses its classic characters to foster a bigger connection with guests

While the Golden Arches can be spotted from a distance, that craving for those World Famous Fries or classic Big Mac hits in an instant. McDonald’s is more than a favorite fast food stop. The brand’s classic characters create a connection across generations.  

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Ronald McDonald, Grimace, and the Hamburglar are more than just McDonald’s classic characters. Those images can make people crave a burger, long to eat a handful of fries, or seek out a sweet sip of that satisfying shake. Regardless of the promotional aspect, those characters connect generations beyond the drive-thru.  

Over the past couple of months, McDonald’s has put forward a different conversation that is almost more about the experience than it is about the food on the table. While many people reconnected with the lovable Grimace and his celebratory shake, other promotions saw the reimagining of the McNugget Buddies. In some ways, this collective pop culture conversation offered a bigger connection.  

Whether it was the person rediscovering a moment from their youth or sharing with their kid a moment from their childhood, it was a time where memories flavored the bite. Opening that adult Happy Meal was just as much about celebrating the immediate eating satisfaction as well as a blast from the past.  

Now that the Hamburglar returns to celebrate those classic burgers, cheeseburgers, and Big Macs, the conversation celebrates that nostalgia. From the muscle car to the humming that jingle, the old is new again.  

As Tariq Hassan, Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer at McDonald’s said, “McDonald’s built a legacy on serving delicious burgers, but anytime we have an opportunity to make the best even better, we take it. It's no surprise these changes caught the attention of our biggest burger fan – the Hamburglar. We’re excited for fans to join in on the fun as they look for him on his burger-stealing spree. You never know where he’ll pop up next.”    

While McDonald’s is using the Hamburglar and the Burgercuda as part of a promotional giveaway, it is a subtle way to celebrate its burgers, whether a single burger or a quadruple stack that requires a huge bite. Sure, people want to win a prize, but it is a fun reminder to go taste that two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. It might not have everyone immediately jumping off the couch, but it might start a craving that needs to be satisfied.  

What could be next in the McDonald’s characters conversation? Maybe Sundae Sundae will make an appearance this summer or Mayor McCheese could oversee a Fourth of July celebration. Only time will tell if one of these classic characters returns or if someone new enters the fast food conversation.