Vegan restaurant cheekily trolls McDonald's branding

Mr Charlie's vegan restaurant shows similarities to McDonald's branding
(Image credit: Mr Charlie's)

We're big fans of McDonald's marketing efforts here at Creative Bloq, and we've highlighted numerous campaigns by the fastfood chain over the years. All the same, we can't help but be impressed by the cheek of an upstart vegan restaurant brand that's turning the golden M's marketing upside down – in some cases quite literally.

The branding looking looks incredibly similar to McD's, but instead of Happy Meals, we have Frowny Meals and instead of Big Macs, Big Chucks. Almost as it it were goading McDonald's for a response, the brand's now made its boldest move yet, opening a second branch directly opposite a McDonald's in Sutter Street near Union Square, San Francisco. (If you're looking for inspiration for your own branding, see our pick of the best graphic design books).

The vegan fastfood brand Mr Charlie's has been making waves with its marketing since it opened a restaurant in Los Angeles last year. With a very familiar-looking red and gold colour palette and an upside-down smile, it quickly got noticed due a cheeky resemblance to one of the world's biggest fastfood brands.

Describing itself as “An Exhibition of Plants”, the restaurant sells plant-based burgers called Big Chucks made with Impossible Foods patties and Frowny Meals that include fries. 

Mr Charlie's vegan restaurant shows similarities to McDonald's branding

Mr Charlie's offers plant-based burgers (Image credit: Mr Charlie's)

We normally don't recommend imitation as a means to successful branding, but we have to admire Mr Charlie's nerve. It seems to have got away with it so far, but we do wonder if the expansion might now get McDonald's attention. We'll stay tuned to see if satire stands up as a defence. Now what toy do I get with my Frowny Meal?

Read more:

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Joseph Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design, production and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.