McDonald's brings back Adult Happy Meals

Marketing Bites: McDonald’s has teamed up with Kerwin Frost to launch new limited edition adult happy meals. Dunkin’ and Martha Stewart launch martini glasses. And Kura Sushi introduces a new Bikkura Pon prize collection
Kerwin Frost Box
The Kerwin Frost box includes McNuggets or a Big Mac, fries, a soft drink and a collectible. | Photo courtesy of McDonald's.

Marketing Bites

McDonald’s is bringing back Adult Happy Meals. But this time it's featuring McNugget Buddy collectibles. Meanwhile, Dunkin’ puts a marketing push behind its new martini glasses, with the help of Martha Stewart. And Kura Sushi is launching a new Bikkura Pon prize collection featuring Snoopy and friends.

Here's a look at what's new in the world of restaurant marketing. 

Adult Happy Meals

McDonald’s is leaning into nostalgia. Again. To that end, the burger giant has teamed up with DJ Kerwin Frost on a new Adult Happy Meal. The chain tried out Adult Happy Meals last year with the launch of the Cactus Plant Flea Market Box. The promotion was a huge success with diners.

The new Kerwin Frost Box launches in the U.S. starting Dec. 11. The meal includes the choice of 10-piece Chicken McNuggets or a Big Mac, fries, a soft drink and a McNugget Buddy collectible, which return to the burger chain for the first time in over 25 years. The McNugget Buddies were first introduced in 1988 as a part of a limited time Happy Meal. The characters are known for their adventures, personalities, wild imaginations and interchangeable outfits, according to a statement.

The original McNugget Buddy collection served as inspiration for Frost’s line of toys. He also was inspired by his own childhood.

The first collectible is Kerwin Frost, who is apparently the mayor of Frost Way. Other characters include Don Bernice, Uptown Moe, Waffutu, Brrrick and Darla.

“I’ve loved McDonald’s since I was a kid. I even had my own Ronald McDonald doll that I brought to picture day at school, and it was my dream to collect all the McNugget Buddies,” said Kerwin Frost, in a statement.  “Now, coming up with my own special set of Buddies – each one representing different aspects of self-expression – it's unreal, a dream come true.”

A line of merchandise featuring the McNugget Buddy collection will also debut in select global markets.

Super fans of the Kerwin Frost McNugget Buddy can also buy the limited-edition Fry Guy shoes, as seen on the Kerwin Frost collectible himself.

A portion of proceeds from Frost’s merchandise line will benefit the Harlem Arts Alliance, a New York based nonprofit.  

“With last year’s Cactus Plant Flea Market Box, we unlocked the childlike joy of opening a Happy Meal box for fans of all ages,” said Tariq Hassan, McDonald’s USA chief marketing and customer experience officer, in a statement.  “Fans told us they wanted to celebrate that quintessential childhood experience again. So, we’re excited to team up with Kerwin on this next take, as he brings his own childhood McDonald’s memories to life through reimagined McDonald’s characters, immersing our fans in the world of Frost Way.”


Speaking of celebrity collaborations, Dunkin’ has teamed up with Martha Stewart on its new holiday merchandise. The two have launched holiday-themed Dunkin’ martini shakers and glasses. The shaker is priced at $25 while the glasses are priced at $20. Dunkin debuted the collection with a “dunkintini” recipe introduced by Martha Stewart in a video. The featured martini includes Dunkin’ espresso, vodka and coffee liqueur.

Kura Sushi’s Peanuts collection

Kura Sushi has a special limited time promotion for diners, with the help of Snoopy and friends. The sushi chain has launched the Bikkura Pon prize collection, inviting diners to collect keychains and other collectibles featuring Peanuts characters.  For every 15 plates ordered, diners will receive one collectible. In addition, From Jan. 3 through Jan. 7 rewards members who spend $70 in the restaurant will receive a special collectible Peanuts 3-piece cup set. 

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct details about the collectible cup set. 

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