McDonald’s partners up with Chinese designer to create fast food fashion

Key takeaways:

  • McDonald’s has launched an end-of-year campaign, smartly combining the practice of fast food with fashion through wordplay.
  • As part of the efforts, the brand has collaborated with Angus Chiang, an emerging contemporary designer from Taiwan who was also shortlisted for an LVMH Prize.
  • The fast-food chain giant has also tapped into the iconic Chinese rock singer Wowkie Zhang, leveraging the dubbed “true punk bringer to the Chinese” for localisation.

Play with words in Chinese

Those who thought food and fashion might never overlap have been proven otherwise with the birth of McDonald’s latest initiative “Chicken Food Fashion Week” which is striking a chord in China. The campaign’s tagline “Chicken is not to be missed food fashion show” (()()()(shī)(shí)(zhuāng)(zhōu)) is a clever wordplay where the original word () (opportunity) in the Chinese idiom ()()()(shī) (an opportunity that cannot be missed) has been replaced by (), which translates to the fast food chain’s signature offering of chicken. And the term (shí)(zhuāng)(fashion) has been readapted with (shí) (food), a homophone of (shí) (time), adding a delicious sense to the occasion that celebrates fashion.

Leveraging his strength in bright colour usage, the young fashion designer also drew inspiration from McDonald’s spicy chicken hamburger and the trademark colours of red and yellow.

Launched on 30 November, the campaign has so far drawn in more than 1.4 million views on China’s largest microblogging site Weibo. Designed to be an “end-of-year carnival”, the event is set to run through December before it draws to a close in the New Year on 3 January, and special offers featuring four iconic McDonald’s products will be available at its selected outlets in China during this period. 

The synergy between food and fashion

The fashion show which is the core of the campaign has teamed up with emerging contemporary menswear designer Angus Chiang who was shortlisted for the LVMH Prize 2017 edition and specialises in futuristic colour popping pom-pom designs. While leveraging his strength in bright colour usage, the young talent also drew inspiration from McDonald’s spicy chicken hamburger and the trademark colours of red and yellow.

This has brought out a new fashion series called full of “chicken flavour”. From a baker-boy style hat resembling a multi-layered hamburger to a range of ready-to-wear, shoulder bags and accessories including sunglasses and gloves with diverse patterns encapsulating McDonald’s identity.

The unique application of colour and expressive design demonstrated the strong pursuit of individuality.

Meanwhile, the unique application of colour and expressive design together with bold makeup, have demonstrated the strong pursuit of individuality amongst China’s younger generation, therefore, enhancing the appeal to their target consumers.

Adding to the buzz, the American fast-food chain also engaged with Wowkie Zhang, a Millennial Chinese singer and songwriter. As the former lead singer of the rock band The Flower, their pop-punk songs once blew up in China amongst the post-80s and post-90s and were regarded as “true punk bringers to the Chinese.”

The runway show wrapped up with a song full of strong electronic beats that were produced by Zhang and have also been readapted into an advertising version with a yummy twist of crunchy fried chicken sounds building the song’s bridge.  

By doing so, the brand is able to resonate with a local audience by leveraging the Chinese personality who helped the penetration of the rock genre that originated from its home country in the target market, which is part of the brand’s localisation endeavour while giving a nod to McDonald’s American heritage.

The addition of rather rebellious and wild music with catchy melodies energised the overall mood, and a random bite of a McDonald’s chicken hamburger by Zhang during the singing break further provoked the appetite.