McDonald’s Tried To Bring Back Nostalgia For Adults, It Didn’t Go Well

Nicolas Vega, a 28-year-old entertainment and pop culture reporter on CNBC’s Make It, ordered the new ‘Adult’ Happy Meal at McDonald’s to see what the hype was about.

His experience didn’t go well.

The fast food chain announced plans to introduce adult-oriented meals that yes, come with a free toy.  All this in a marketing effort based on the nostalgia of the restaurant’s famous red cardboard boxes.

Unlike the children’s classic Happy Meal, the Cactus Plant Flea Market Happy Meal Box will have the available options of either a Big Mac or a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets, as well as a soda and fries.

As for the toy, you’ll receive “one of four collectible figurines” of McDonald’s mascots-  Grimace, the Hamburglar, and Birdie, as well as a Cactus Buddy.

Vega said,  “I am objectively too old to be ordering a Happy Meal at McDonald’s. But when I learned last week that the fast food giant was running a limited-time promotion to bring an adult-oriented Happy Meal to its restaurants, I was intrigued.”

He continued saying, “The Happy Meal and I go way back. I still remember the excitement of having my 5th birthday party at the now-defunct McDonald’s PlayPlace on West 92nd street, leveraging my status as the birthday boy to get all the toys from the release of 1999′s “Inspector Gadget” film. Needless to say, if there’s a target audience for a grown-up version of the combo, I’m it.”

Vega went on to say that after trying it, he wasn’t impressed.

“The large Cactus Plant Flea Market box cost $12.89 before tax at my closest McDonald’s location in New York City. That’s $2.60 more than the $10.29 I’d pay for the large Big Mac meal, which contains the exact same amount of food,” he said.

The $2.60 up-charge is almost enough money to add an extra burger to your order.  Is the toy and the box worth the up-charge?  In Vega’s opinion, it’s not.

He said, “Opening the plastic bag containing my toy was easily the most nostalgic part of the entire experience, though I suspect not in the way McDonald’s intended.”

“It’s been almost 20 years since the last time I experienced disappointment from getting the wrong toy in a Happy Meal, but I felt it when opening the Cactus Plant Flea Market box,” he continued.  “While I had been hoping to get a nostalgic figure from my childhood in the form of Grimace, the Hamburglar or even Birdie, I instead walked away with Cactus Buddy, the apparel brand’s mascot.”

He ended the article by saying, “The next time you’re in the mood for a Happy Meal, just get the real thing.”


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