McDonald’s touts it pop culture credentials with ‘As Featured in Meal’

From George Costanza’s date sarcastically telling him that that she hasn’t had a Big Mac in a long time in Seinfeld, to Clueless character Travis Birkenstock thanking the “wonderful crew at McDonald’s” for their Egg McMuffins, and Pulp Fiction‘s Vincent Vega explaining to his partner-in-crime Jules Winnfield why the Quarter Pounder is called a Le Royale in Paris, the Golden Arches has amassed an extraordinarily long list of film, TV, and song credits over the years.

According to, its first known on-screen appearance came way back in 1973, with a fleeting reference in the Woody Allen film Sleeper. It has even included extensive product placement deals, most notably the 1988 film Mac and Me (best known today as the source of the clip that actor Paul Rudd shows when promoting his latest project on Conan O’Brien’s various late night shows).

Now the QSR is celebrating its pop culture impact with a new menu item called the “As Featured in Meal,” a collection of “fan-favourite menu items” that have been featured in various entertainment over the years. It comes ahead of a tie-in with season two of Marvel Studios’ Loki, which debuts on Disney+ in October.

The meal combo, which features a choice of a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets, Quarter Pounder with Cheese, or Big Mac, along with medium fries and fountain drink, will be available in more than 100 countries as of Aug. 14. The meal is served in a branded bag that highlights some of the fast-food chain’s various “credits” over the years, including a mention in Run-D.M.C.’s “You Be Illin,'” as well as references in Coming to America and the U.S. version of The Office (no mention of Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me, however).

Customers can also obtain a Loki-branded package of sweet ‘n sour sauce they can scan on Snapchat in order to unlock custom content developed by Marvel Studios, with new content being made available weekly throughout the promotion. McDonald’s has also partnered with London-based skate and street wear brand Palace on a merch line that can be purchased by scanning a QR code on the outside of the specially marked bag.

Palace began teasing the collaboration with a cryptic billboard above the chain’s Times Square location this week that used its signature bullet-point form of communication.

It posted the message on its Instagram page, with McDonald’s responding in a similarly cryptic manner. The fast food chain also created a fake movie poster showcasing its various credits over the years.

(McDonald’s Canada did not immediately respond to The Message‘s query about its Canadian marketing plans.)

“McDonald’s has played an integral and iconic role in pop culture for decades, creating real-life connections to our favourite films, series and characters within them,” said McDonald’s Canada vice-president and CMO Alyssa Buetikofer in a release. “The ‘As Featured In Meal,’ our most famous order yet, celebrates the moments most memorable to Canadians, and around the world.”

It’s not the first time that a major consumer brand has attempted to capitalize on its impact on popular culture. In 2020, Heinz Ketchup launched a campaign tied to the Oscars called “Make Heinz an Actor,” in which it attempted to earn recognition for its “hundreds” of uncredited film roles over the years. It followed that up two years later with a campaign featuring a “for your consideration” billboard in Los Angeles.

Chris Powell