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return to posts March 11th, 2024

One McAnime, Please: McDonald’s Rebrands

I couldn’t believe my eyes as I pulled into the McDonald’s drive-thru last week to get my daughter a Happy Meal. Anime characters on the menu screen. Signage with Japanese writing.

Well, it was enough to get me to order something for myself—just to acquire the advertised packaging and to try their new sauce. And then I noticed the logo: WcDonald’s. My husband and I had a laugh. As anime fans, we had seen this misspelling before.

In the realm of fast food, few names resonate as profoundly as McDonald’s. Since its humble beginnings as a small burger stand in San Bernardino, California, McDonald’s has burgeoned into a global powerhouse, symbolizing not only the fast-food industry but also aspects of American culture and globalization.

In recent years, McDonald’s has embarked on a journey of reinvention, responding to changing consumer preferences and societal trends.

Enter the WcDonald’s phenomenon.

“McDonald’s” in Anime | Compilation by Slomo_Domo

The concept of integrating real-life brands like McDonald’s into various forms of media, including anime, manga, video games, and light novels, speaks to its cultural significance and appeal.

WcDonald’s, a fictional rendition of McDonald’s, has made its appearance in more than 100 distinct anime films and television shows. The concept stems from a 1983 episode of Cat’s Eye, a manga and anime franchise, that skirted copyright infringement by flipping the letter M.

WcDonald's first appearance in Cat's Eye (1985)
WcDonald’s first appearance as a parody in the anime Cat’s Eye (1985).

The decision by McDonald’s to officially embrace the WcDonald’s concept, including anime and manga adaptations, demonstrates the power of cross-promotion and leveraging pop culture trends. By partnering with Studio Pierrot, known for its work on several successful anime series including Bleach, Naruto, Tokyo Ghoul, Urusei Yatsuraand Yu Yu Hakusho, McDonald’s likely aimed to tap into the loyal fanbases of both anime and fast food enthusiasts.

Select McDonald’s restaurants rebranded as WcDonald’s, complete with themed packaging and signage, further underscores the creativity and marketing savvy behind this campaign. It not only generates excitement among existing customers but also attracts new ones curious about the crossover between fast food and entertainment.

Overall, this collaboration between McDonald’s and the world of anime and manga seems like a bold and innovative move, demonstrating the flexibility of traditional brands in embracing contemporary trends and engaging with diverse audiences.

With the recent passing of legendary Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama, I’ll be celebrating his work tonight as I enjoy McNuggets with WcDonald’s sauce and rewatch a couple of classic episodes.

While McDonald’s has faced its share of controversies and challenges, its enduring popularity and global reach speak volumes. The delicious WcDonald’s sauce, the anime packaging, and the direct involvement of one of Japan’s biggest anime studios are all reasons I’m going back for more. For as long as McDonald’s is unafraid to adapt and push the envelope, I’m here for it. In fact, I’m lovin’ it.

*Disclaimer: while Jessica does endorse the pairing of fast food and anime, this blog is not endorsed by McDonald’s.

Written by

Jessica Jagmin

Social Media Specialist

A graduate of St. Clair College, Jess has many years of experience in graphic design and copywriting. She is also a WCCA graduate with over 2 decades of experience in honing her fine art skills. In her free time, Jess enjoys watercolour painting, playing video games, spending time with her husband and daughter, and listening to strange and unusual podcasts.