"McDonald’s this week unveiled its new quick-service and beverage-focused drive-through concept called CosMc’s. Named after an obscure McDonald’s robot/surfer/alien/snail character from the 1980s, CosMc’s is planning to open more than 10 pilot locations, offering an expanded coffee and beverage menu designed to appeal to existing patrons of large drive-through coffee chains such as Dunkin’, Starbucks or Dutch Bros., according to a report from Fast Company. A sample menu shows items such as a “S’mores Cold Brew” and a “Turmeric Spiced Latte.” - Daily Coffee News
There is so much to comment on here, I'm not quite sure where to start, however I will give it a try.
McDonald's has been playing in the coffee game for a while now. McCafe was their first entry into the space and it was incredibly successful. "By 2003, the new branch generated 15% of the total McDonalds revenue. The new brand was named the Biggest Chain in Australia and New Zealand the same year." - RH Retail
So, McDonald's creating a new coffee brand is not terribly surprising, however their brand choice may seem so until further review. CosMc's is clearly targeting the GenX to GenZ demo to meet a new generation of McCustomers. The CosMc character appeared in TV and print ads from 1986 to 1992 which would create some nostalgic appeal to younger GenX-ers and older Millenials whom they are hoping will bring their GenZ kids. Going with an alien surfer provides a youthful appeal while remaining outside of any earthly political or national controversies.
The first glance at the menu, "S'mores Cold Brew" and "Tumeric Spiced Latte" shows that they are following the trend of cold coffee drinks while trying to appeal to both wellness focused Millenials and pleasure focused GenZ-ers.
On the CosMc's website you will find that they are a mission driven company (very important to Millenial consumers) and they are super relatable and simpathetic because they know - "everyday life can wiegh us down." As the malaise of the pandemic continues to loom, consumers are still relying on escapism to get through the day. The imagination is captured by our facination with SpaceX, Blue Origin etc. and the conversation around colonizing Mars. The escape fantasy combined lends itself to a convenient mission to lift humans up.
It seems like a well-hatched plan, though they seem to be rolling it out cautiously with only ten locations to test-focus on in the Mid-West for a very even keeled taking of the temperature. Only time will tell, however I think they are missing a few key ingredients to fully appeal to their audience... Perhaps a video-game-type-app for ordering and the use of full bio-matter security to order coffee will make it feel both playful and futuristic. This brand feels like a lab-hatched concept, developed in the test-tube of a marketing team, armed with statistics and trend diagnostics. Is that a recipe for success? The results may surprise us...
Written by Jake Leonti, F+B Therapy
Mr. Leonti has worked in coffee for over twenty years with disciplines at every link of the value chain from barista to roasting, green grading and importing. Jake is the current Editor-in-Chief of Coffee Talk Magazine, columnist at Santé Magazine, member of the Roasters Guild and host of the Food and Beverage Therapy podcast