OPINIONMarketing

McDonald’s flips its ‘M’ for manga fans

Marketing Bites: The burger giant becomes WcDonald’s on Monday, with a limited-time spicy WcNugget sauce. Plus, Zoup! has a new name but the exclamation point isn’t going away.
WcDonald's
McDonald's is releasing a limited-time WcNugget sauce as part of its anime-inspired promotion. | Illustration courtesy: McDonald's
Marketing Bites

If you’re not a fan of Japanese-style comic books known as manga or similarly styled TV shows and movies called anime, the word “WcDonald’s” might look especially foreign.

For decades, though, that’s how McDonald’s has been referred to in those art forms.

And, on Monday, McDonald’s in more than 30 markets around the world will become WcDonald’s, with a new spicy WcNuggets sauce, four mini anime episodes, short mangas to be unlocked via packaging QR codes, themed shirts for employees and more.

It’s a campaign that has taken months to develop, through a partnership between McDonald’s, creative agencies, Japanese animation firm Studio Pierrot and Acky Bright, anime artist and the daughter of the studio’s founder, according to Guillaume Huin, senior marketing director for the burger giant, in a thread posted on X (formerly Twitter) Wednesday.

WcDonald's

McDonald's becomes WcDonald's on Monday. | Illustration courtesy: McDonald's

“During the campaign, the WcDonald’s logo and the characters are going to take over our stores,” Huin said. “This campaign is another example of the brand’s commitment to ‘share the pen’ with fans and celebrate the cultures we’ve been a part of organically. Seeing the anime world take over our 13,500 stores is something I cannot wait for.”

Diners can “animate their taste buds” via a limited-time Savory Chili WcDonald’s Sauce that combines ginger, garlic and soy with chili flakes, the chain said.

Every Monday until March 18, a new anime short and new manga will drop on WcDonalds.com, or by scanning the code on the WcDonald’s bag.

On March 9-10, the first WcDonald’s Immersive Dining Experience will open in Los Angeles.

“Guests will be transported into the WcDonald’s universe through 360 projection mapping and immersive tabletop projections inspired by the four WcDonald’s anime episodic shorts—all while enjoying a set menu of WcDonald’s items,” the company said.

Starting Feb. 28, diners can reserve a table for the experience through OpenTable. We suspect they’ll be snapped up before you can say “WcDonald’s.”

Gadzooks! Zoup! Is now Z!EATS

The fast-casual soup chain formerly known as Zoup! is now Z!EATS.

If you thought a name like Zoup! couldn’t get any better, you are in for a treat! (I have already used more exclamation points here than in the entirety of my 30 years in journalism.)

Soup is seasonal, the chain said, and “Z!EATS broadens the brand’s focus from solely soup to an extensive array of menu choices specifically curated for the Gen Z demographic.” Members of Gen Z, apparently, prefer to eat a “plant-forward” selection of sandwiches, salads, flatbreads, and mac & cheese. Soup will continue to be served in the form of tasting flights known as “shooters.”

The first Z!EATS is slated to open in Atlanta this spring. By the end of the year, all existing Zoup! restaurants will be rebranded, the chain’s parent company, WOWorks, said.

“For over 25 years, Zoup! has reigned as an industry leader in creative soups, and the Z!EATS menu represents an extension of our soup heritage to a diverse range of options tailored to the next generation of fast-casual food enthusiasts,” WOWorks CMO Ted Asbury said.

Wonder if that soup slinger from Seinfeld fame is available to stand at the door of Z!EATS to say “no soup for you?”

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