4 Bites of the CosMc’s Launch

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Trade and consumer media was buzzing last week with news of the new brand launched by 68-year-old McDonald’s. This new beverage brand, CosMc’s, (that also serves a limited food menu) declares on its website:

“At CosMc’s, you’ll find exactly what you need to take you to your happy place. And you’ll feel rejuvenated by more than just a drink. We know that everyday life can weigh us down.”

That’s a big promise for a beverage — in a world filled with economic uncertainty, an ever-changing marketing and employment landscape, and all other stresses.

But let’s go back to a happy place.

Launching a brand spin-off is a bold move. This small-footprint concept opened in Bolingbrook, Illinois, to long lines. Although not a teeming metropolis, it’s near McDonald’s global headquarters. The plan is to open ten more stores in 2024 in the Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio areas, according to NPR. 

What can we take away from this launch (other than the Sour Cherry Energy Burst and Creamy Avocado Tomatillo Sandwich that are on the menu?

  1. Beverages are hot (as in trending). Coffee alone is an $11B business. Stir in cold varieties, and that number skyrockets. Is McDonald’s late to the game? We’ll see over time. Our thirst for new drink varieties may be bottomless.
  2. Retro branding is having a moment (again). The Jetsons-like vibe is clear and the company even created an origin story around the brand. Most consumers will probably never even know it, but it provides great media coverage and website content.
  3. Small footprints are big news. MULO (multi-location) brands are realizing that less is more regarding real estate spending. You don’t need a sprawling space if you have the right location, technology, and limited menu or retail choices.
  4. Social media and word-of-mouth are critical to any brand launch. Although McDonald’s media outreach probably involved a Big Mac-sized marketing budget, consumers took to their social feeds to share their experiences with the new concept.

The launch is part of McDonald’s larger “Accelerate the Arches” strategy, which incorporates every 2024 business buzzword and targets 50,000 locations by 2027. That represents the most significant growth trajectory in the company’s history.

Ronald McDonald is semi-retired (due to a negative clown perception — we kid you not!) But aliens have come to Earth in the form of CosMc’s, and we’ll all be watching to see if they settle on our planet or if the spaceship stalls out.

Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in Inc.com, the New York Times and Forbes.