Why McDonald’s just reversed the golden arches

The advertisement pays homage to the long-standing manga and anime tradition of including a “WcDonald’s” restaurant.

Let McDonald’s close and let WcDonald’s thrive.

For their newest advertisement, McDonald’s is temporarily swapping out its recognizable golden arches for a “W” as a nod to manga and anime.

The pop culture-inspired makeover will debut globally on February 26 and include a series of WcDonald’s manga and anime flicks, new sauce, and limited-edition packaging.

The fictional parody store WcDonald’s, which is often written “WacDonalds” or “Wacdnald,” has become a mainstay in the backgrounds of many well-known TV shows, comic books, and video games over the past few decades.

Its origins may be traced back to the manga and anime series Cat’s Eye, where it first appeared in graphic novels released in 1981 and then again in television adaptation episode 48 in 1983.

Since then, McDonald’s has made numerous appearances in movies, TV shows, and books. A few examples include the anime series Sonic X, the movie Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, and the ongoing manga magazine Otaku Elf. Common appearances include a fleeting glimpse of the inverted arches on a congested city street, individuals gorging on McDonald’s hamburgers emblazoned with the company’s emblem, or staff members donning the recognizable red and yellow uniform.

The world of McDonald’s has now materialized. Consumers may purchase WcNuggets in-store in revised WcDonald’s packaging that honors fictional versions, served with a side of delicious chili sauce. The distinctive branding was handled by Japanese manga artist Acky Bright, who also produced four digital comics for the collaboration.

Some of the characters include a giant robot called WcDizer 3000 and a motley group of McDonald’s employees; Bright claims he came up with them by “imagining real crew members who might actually be working in the store.”

“Although I am a manga artist and frequently parody real brands to avoid legal issues, this occasion was unique because McDonald’s itself initiated the parody officially, a first of its kind globally,” Bright wrote in an email to Fast Company. “I deliberately incorporated a lot of the retro McDonald’s feel into the design. Now that the “WcDonald’s” campaign has formally begun, I’m interested to see how manga and anime will respond to it moving forward.

In addition, four anime shorts were made for the promotion by McDonald’s in collaboration with the Japanese animation company Studio Pierrot. A popular anime subject, such as action, romance, fantasy, or mecha (short for mechanical; think Transformers), served as the basis for each McDonald’s episode. Naruto is the most well-known program that Pierrot is most known for. A manga and an animation short will be distributed each week via the store’s physical packaging and QR codes.

In an email to Fast Company, JJ Healan, vice president of McDonald’s U.S. marketing: brand, content, and culture, explained the rationale behind the advertisement. “The secret to success for a concept like McDonald’s is to maintain genuine and profound relationships with our followers while integrating our brand into society,” Healan stated. “We look beyond short-term sales windows; instead, we rely on long-lasting connections and brand loyalty to propel the business.”

For Bright, it has been fulfilling to see McDonald’s embrace its manufactured character.

“Being selected for such an immensely enjoyable project, where the global brand seriously engages in parody, has been an honor and a purely enjoyable experience,” Bright said. “As I answer to this interview, I’m still working on the last manga chapter, and even this time is fun for me.”

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