Casey Stevenson – Associate Arts and Entertainment Editor
Those who have been on TikTok in the past month may have come across content about the “Grimace Shake”.
Since June 12th, 2023, McDonald’s customers, and the internet, have been presented with the option of the brand new Grimace Shake, as a part of Grimace’s Birthday Meal.
The now infamous shake is available only with the Grimace Birthday Meal for $13.99. The meal comes with a choice of a Big Mac or a 10 Piece McNugget along with a medium or large Fry and a medium or large Grimace Shake.
If you order the meal at the drive-thru, the order screen will pop up with a message from the purple mascot saying “Thank u party ppl! Enjoy my meal”.
The meal, as presented in its title, has been a part of a promotional event celebrating the 52nd birthday of the mascot Grimace.
But who is Grimace? Grimace is one of the many mascots of McDonalds, being part of the McDonaldLand TV commercial campaign, which was launched in 1971 according to the McDonald’s Wiki. He was introduced alongside the Hamburglar, the McNugget Buddies, and more. Each of these characters represents a different food served at the food chain, with Grimace representing milkshakes. His origins were initially of a shake swindling ne’er do well with 4 arms and was of a species none could identify.
Over the years, and after a much needed redesign, Grimace became a lovable, kind fellow, with only two arms, and a huggable exterior.
One early commercial even saw him interacting with former US President Donald Trump, back before he got into politics.
Grimace also has himself, according to the McDonald’s Wiki, a family, parents, siblings, grandparents, as well as extended family, including one Uncle O’Grimacey, who is the mascot representative of the famous, or infamous, shamrock shake.
Grimace himself is no Ronald McDonald, while Ronald has been shown as a smart, tall, thin and charismatic fellow making hamburgers appear out of thin air, Grimace is a short, stout, fuzzy purple monster with slower and more simple and stretched out speech. Recent ads have shown him as a sweet, lovable, and huggable monster who just wants to celebrate his birthday with all his new friends.
In early June 2023, the mascot made his triumphant return, taking over McDonald’s social media accounts such as their TikTok page and spread the word that he would be celebrating his birthday starting in mid-July with the premiere of the previously mentioned “Grimace’s Birthday Meal”.
According to an initial commercial, filled with nostalgically set pictures and videos of Grimace growing up and celebrating;
“Since he was born, Grimace has always had a birthday. And since he’s had a birthday, he’s always had it at McDonald’s. So this June, we’re all invited to the party, with a special shake to celebrate.”
This is not the first time McDonald’s has celebrated Grimace’s Birthday. According to the McDonald’s Wiki:
“In the 1970s and 1980s, he was often seen sporting a mullet and braces. He celebrated his birthday at McDonald’s with mom under the apple pie tree in the 1970s. For his sweet 16, he got a red car along with his first driver’s license.”
The shake itself, according to online reviews, has had a mixed bag in reception, some reviews say it’s refreshing, others say it’s not their best shake, some don’t know how to feel, and this author feels that it does taste surprisingly refreshing, but overall is a little unsure of it.
Social media got ahold of the promotional meal and the shake, and a dark twist has entered the party with a new trend.
Social media users, from adults and teenagers, to toddlers and pets, are pictured trying the shake, and then cutting to them dead with the contents of the drink spilled all over the place. Some have gotten creative in their filmmaking, with one group of men picturing one of them floating down the river dead after trying the shake. But all of these videos share one message: “Don’t trust Grimace, his shake will kill you.”
The trend has slightly shifted in the hours between the end of june and the beginning of July, with more and more people, particularly artists and animators, expressing sympathy for the character and how he only wanted to celebrate his birthday, and got roped into a trend where it was implied he was a malicious murderer. Some TikTok users have even called for Justice for Grimace.
Even the current voice actor for Grimace (and Donald Duck), Daniel Ross, has jumped into the trend on his TikTok. In this video posted on Saturday, July 1st, Ross wears his purple hoodie, seemingly the one he was gifted by McDonald’s for his work on Grimace, with a sad, teary, puppy dog look on his face, with the aforementioned nostalgic commercial playing behind him. His captions read;
His whole life he’s been called a monster, or a tastebud… He just wanted to share his birthday with you… Because he loves you… You are ALL so special to him…Especially after he lost his best friend Ronald.. But so many of you were mean to him.. He was framed.. But it’s not too late to tell Grimace how much you still love him.. Justice for Grimace. Grimace still loves you..Per Daniel Ross’ Tiktok
McDonald’s themselves has noticed this trend circulating, with Grimace himself in a video where he covers his eyes with the caption, “mee pretending I don’t see the grimace shake trendd. Woww lots of peoplee r tryingg the grimace shake”.
As the birthday promotion seems to come to an end, it will be interesting to see if the shake makes a return next year, or if McDonald’s will retire this shake for the foreseeable future due to the response on social media.