The McDonald’s NFT collection is in itself a testament to the gaining popularity of nonfungible tokens.
When McDonald’s launched the McRibs as an NFT, in November 2021, it got mixed sets of responses. While some were surprised, others were excited. However, McDonald’s’ move might seem innovative, it certainly follows others.
Earlier in 2021, Taco Bell launched its own collection of NFTs, the NFTacoBells on Rarible. The NFTs from the Mexican food chain were sold out within 30 minutes of their launch on the trading platform. Following suit, Burger King also launched its own NFT collection in September 2021, when it partnered with the NFT platform Sweet.
Coming back to McDonald’s NFT collection, let’s find out what does the burger giant had in store for NFT enthusiasts. And does it plan to go ahead with more such drops?
What is the McDonald’s McRib NFT?
McDonald’s USA launched its NFT collection, which celebrated the launch of its McRib sandwich in the American market.
The limited-edition NFT collection wasn’t available for sale but as a lucky gift. The gift was available to 10 lucky customers taking part in the NFT launch contest. Moreover, the participants should have an NFT wallet ready to grab the collection and were required to be above 18 years of age during the launch.
Participation in the promotional campaign for the McDonald’s NFT was quite simple. The users had to follow the official McDonald’s Twitter account and retweet the invitation tweet from the brand between November 1 and November 7, 2021. On the occasion of its NFT launch, the brand stated, “Our McRib NFTs are digital versions of the fan-favorite sandwich – almost as saucy as the McRib itself– and we’re giving them away to a few lucky fans on Twitter beginning Nov 1st on its website.
The move to launch a McRibs NFT came a year after McDonald’s had launched an app tracking the stores that are serving McRibs, catering to the craze around the burger.
How Did The Customers Respond?
The McDonald’s NFT launch had all the elements of success. A legacy brand with good market dominance, entering into a new space, catering to all age groups. However, the only setback was that these NFTs weren’t available for sale.
That might’ve seemed like a bummer to many, however, on the other hand, it can add to the rarity of the NFT down the line.
But, the McDonald’s NFT collection was able to gather some respectable amount of hype on its launch.
Artist Mike Winkelmann, aka Beeple, who is famous for a lot of his NFT works, including ‘Everydays: The First 5,000 Days’ which was sold for a whopping $69 million, joined the fanfare behind McDonald’s NFT. The artist tweeted- “Whoa s - - t just go real.”
However, on the downside, it was observed by one of the users that the NFT collection, based on the Ethereum blockchain, had a racial slur attached to it. This raised a quite valid point amongst NFT and crypto enthusiasts and the brands as well- how much control do brands have on their NFTs?
While brands are enthusiastically joining the NFT fanfare, they should also realize the dangers and the potential threats the ecosystem involves.
Fast Food Brands & NFTs
Post pandemic, fast food chains, and the restaurant industry bore the most of the brunt, with their revenues dropping massively.
According to GlobalData’s Q1 2021 report, around 28% of the global Gen Z customers want brands to create entertainment options to distract them. Moreover, with Gen Z being a loyal customer base for the quick service restaurants, brands are eyeing an opportunity in the NFT space.
Getting into the NFT space is no more seen as a risky move, but a way to interact with the loyal customers of any brand out there. What seems like a surprising and yet very calculated move is the fact that none of these NFT launches are supposed to be a money-making mechanism for any of these brands. Hence, giving perception to the customers of a brand that wants to communicate and interact.
Pizza Hut’s chief marketing officer for Canada, Daniel Meymen, seems quite optimistic about NFTs as well. In a statement, he said that the NFT campaign from the brand was “an opportunity to give fans another way to get their hands on their favorite Pizza Hut recipes, even if it’s virtual.” This was when the brand had launched its NFT project, the 1 Byte Favourites, which included pictures of the restaurant’s pizza slices and was available on Rarible.
As consumers get smarter and younger, fast food brands are finding every opportunity to interact and engage with their target audience through different means. With the world already on social media, entertainment opportunities like games and contests, or launches like the McDonald’s NFT, are going to make a difference in a brand’s perception.
Conclusion: Another McDonald’s NFT?
Food brands entering the NFT market is quite refreshing as well as a little skeptical for some. What the McDonald’s NFT collection shows us is that brands are willing to enter the NFT market, and they want to do it now.
Many experts believe that NFTs hold the power to increase brand loyalty amongst fans and regular customers. Moreover, just like newer innovations, it might just be a way to ‘stay in trend’ for many.
However, with how in the past brands have adopted technologies like the internet and social media, and capitalized on its benefits, NFTs stand a similar chance to become the ‘next big thing’. Although, the scarcity and the rarity factor behind NFTs are still going to give it some edge as a new way for brands to interact with their customers and stand out.
With the outlook of fast food brands lying in the hands of the younger Gen Z and their interests, fast food brands such as McDonald’s aren’t going to miss out on a chance to serve them with newer offerings.