Anyone who's been on TikTok recently may have been alarmed to discover a deadly new scourge threatening humanity. No, it's not a new pandemic or a nuclear apocalypse. It's a McDonald's milkshake.
If you're not familiar with the viral trend, this is how it began. McDonald's launched a limited-edition 'Grimace Shake' to celebrate the birthday of the reformed former shake-stealing purple blob who in later years became Ronald McDonald's bosom buddy. Some genius satirised the product in a TikTok post in which he tried the purple-coloured shake and ended up on the floor foaming at the mouth. The entire world followed. Even Courteney Cox (see our pick of the best TikTok cameras and the best ring lights if you're looking to up your own TikTok game).
I've not tried the Grimace shake myself, but it's purportedly berry-flavoured, not Grimace-flavoured. It is, however, a similar colour as McDonald's furry purple mascot, who was given his (?) own takeover of McDonald's social media accounts to mark his birthday.
TikToker @thefrazmaz is credited with being the first to wish Grimace a happy birthday before filming his own death by Grimace Shake. Since then other TikTokkers all over the world have gone to increasingly creative lengths to film their own 'Grimace massacre' scenes.
Most videos begin with the TikTokker trying the shake and saying “Happy birthday, Grimace!” before the shot cuts to scenes of carnage, with people sprawled on the floor, being violently sick or dripping with purple liquid. The trend has spilled onto other platforms, and some of the posts are incredibly creative, with users going to great lengths to create scenes of untold horror, including using Photoshop and AI image generators. McDonald's itself has acknowledged the trend with Grimace uploading a video of himself 'pretending not to see the Grimace shake trend'.
It makes me wonder if McDonald's knew what it was about to unleash. But even if it launched the toxic-looking Grimace Shake with the very intention of creating a mass social media phenomenon, it probably didn't bank on quite such elaborate reactions. It just goes to show that while other social media platforms descend into earnest bickering, TikTok is becoming the place for frivolous campaigns that take viral marketing to a new level (just recall how Maxwell the Cat helped an unknown small business go global).
The best McDonald's Grimace Shake posts on TikTok and Twitter
⚠️ These Grimace Shakes are an Avengers level threat frfr! ⚠️ pic.twitter.com/38f0EGcbidJune 27, 2023
I can’t stop watching Grimace Shake videos pic.twitter.com/v9cUSHfifyJune 27, 2023
JOSHUA- NOT THE GRIMACE SHAKE! NO JOSHUA! NOOOOO pic.twitter.com/WHJPOP99NqJune 28, 2023
HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRIMACE!!! pic.twitter.com/8993viwecrJune 28, 2023
Happy Birthday Grimace 🥰 pic.twitter.com/5Fqd2fm6FuJune 28, 2023
meows morales don't drink the grimace shake don't dri-#acrossthespiderverse https://t.co/MsYczOE2bb pic.twitter.com/QZpIldzWgYJune 28, 2023
woww lots of peoplee r tryingg the grimace shake♬ original sound - McDonald’s