McDonald's cat bed

McDonald’s Launches New Merchandise Catering to Chinese Pet Parents

The fast food giant’s fresh marketing concepts continue to win over young consumers

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5:36 PM HKT, Thu November 30, 2023 2 mins read

McDonald’s has once again proven how adept it is at grasping the tastes of young Chinese.

The fast food giant has managed to win the hearts of young people, especially those who own pets, through its recent merchandise — a surprising comeback for the brand’s much-loved cat bed — which comes hot on the heels of the brand’s recent viral collaboration with Crocs.

Back in 2021, McDonald’s set its sights on China’s booming pet industry. It teamed up with Chinese food delivery platform to launch the ‘burger cat bed,’ which flew off shelves upon release.

McDonald's burger cat beds

Promo posters for McDonald’s burger cat beds. Images via Weibo.

Two years later, the cat bed returned in its version 2.0, now transformed into a versatile cat bed ‘bag’ that functions as both a cat bed and a travel carrier.

From November 15 to 19, McDonald’s made 500,000 new cat beds available in three designs at more than 5,000 of its restaurants in China. To acquire one of these sought-after bags, consumers were required to purchase a special combo meal priced at 99.9 RMB (approximately 14.1 USD), available exclusively as a delivery order on the McDonald’s app.

Three different designs of the cat bed

Three different designs of the cat bed. Image via Xiaohongshu.

Thanks to its adorable design and the endorsement of ‘influencer’ cats, the cat bed quickly captured the hearts of cat owners as well as other young people drawn to all things cute.

Netizens have taken to sharing their new acquisitions online, albeit mainly to show off their beloved feline friends. The hashtag ‘McDonald’s cat bed’ racked up 160 million views on Weibo.

“My cat loves the bag but cannot get into it,” posted a Xiaohongshu user who, like some others, felt the cat bed wasn’t big enough to accommodate all cats.

“I don’t have a cat, but I want the bag so bad,” read a top Weibo comment.

“My cat said she wanted it,” another user commented.

Screenshots of Xiaohongshu users sharing their McDonald's cat beds

Screenshots of Xiaohongshu users sharing their McDonald’s cat beds.

Not everyone is as captivated, though. Some raised doubts regarding the value for money of the product, as the price exceeded the anticipated level for many.

“I wouldn’t even buy this meal for 58 RMB (around 8.2 USD). [McDonald’s] turned it into a 99 RMB (around 13.9 USD) set menu with a free cat bed,” a Xiaohongshu user sarcastically commented. “How heartwarming.”

Nonetheless, the fast food chain remains relentless in its efforts to forge a stronger bond with young people. Moving at a rapid pace, its marketing strategies are tailored to the preferences of young consumers and the trends they follow.

Just a week after launching the cat bed, McDonald’s presented a partnership with Japanese graphic artist VERDY. Together, they have created innovative food packaging and a stylish merchandise collection featuring T-shirts, hoodies, and tote bags. Branded ‘exhibitions’ are being held in Beijing, Shanghai, Foshan, and Shenzhen, where customers can shop for the items.

McDonald's latest collaboration with VERDY

McDonald’s latest collaboration with VERDY. Images via Xiaohongshu.

Given the fierce rivalry within China’s catering industry, both from domestic and foreign brands, it is unsurprising that McDonald’s is wholeheartedly committed to executing robust marketing tactics, with a particular emphasis on winning over younger consumers, who are the driving force behind the brand’s soaring popularity across Chinese social media platforms.

The newly coined social media buzzword “Màimén” (麦门), specifically referring to the community of McDonald’s enthusiasts, stands as concrete proof of this.

Cover image via Weibo

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