McDonald’s is heavily promoting its Grimace Birthday Meal with a catchy campaign featuring the purple Grimace monster that allegedly is Ronald McDonald’s best friend. He’s celebrating his birthday all month and invites people to enjoy his special meal.

But the “special meal” is the same fries they always offer, with the same entrée, and the same vanilla shake just with a dash of purple berry flavoring. It’s 100% gimmick but it seems to be working.

Grimace is totally made up, the birthday is arbitrary, and he was introduced 52 years ago so it’s not even a milestone — but someone thought that this could be a summer promotion to generate interest and mix things up. People love new, and they love nostalgia, and Grimace’s purple shake provides both.

Can you take a marketing lesson from the golden arches and concoct something new for your organization? Maybe your mascot has a birthday. Perhaps you celebrate one of the zillion holidays that have been designated. Or maybe you make a fuss about a countdown (e.g. celebrating 12 more days of summer). Think about how the world of made-up and reality can intersect to your benefit. Purple birthday shake, anyone?

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