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By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

June 6, 2023 | 4 min read

To celebrate Grimace’s 51st birthday, the burger behemoth has created a campaign and limited-edition offerings that elicit the 90s kid nostalgia of birthdays spent at McDonald’s.

Here’s an announcement to turn grimaces into grins: McDonald’s has today reported that Grimace’s 51st birthday is right around the corner.

McDonald’s first introduced Grimace in 1972. The brand says the character hails from Grimace Island, where his family of other oblong, fuzzy, purple characters live. To celebrate its beloved mascot, the chain is having a “party,” replete with a range of limited-edition “gifts” becoming available on June 12. They will include a Grimace-themed limited-edition meal, the chain’s first purple milkshake, a retro video game, Snapchat AR lenses and merch.

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The Grimace Birthday Meal comes with the choice between a Big Mac or 10-piece chicken McNuggets, along with french fries and a limited-edition purple shake, which is described as a vanilla soft serve with berry flavors.

The brand has also created its first retro 8-bit video game in collaboration with creative agency Krool Toys. In the game, Grimace races around a ’90s-style McDonald’s with his fellow mascots Birdie and Hamburglar to cut his birthday cake. The game will be free to play on desktop and mobile starting on June 12.

What’s more, Snapchat users can unlock AR Grimace birthday lenses with a quick scan of the Golden Arches.

Finally, a range of limited-edition, Grimace-inspired merchandise – from tee shirts to socks – will become available to purchase on June 12 via

Developed in partnership with creative agency Wieden+Kennedy New York, the US campaign is designed to connect with consumers’ nostalgia by reminding them of grade-school birthday parties in the McDonald’s PlayPlace. In a new TV commercial, Grimace celebrates his birthday in a quintessentially 1990s McDonald’s restaurant. Even photos of the festivities appear to be taken with a flash film camera. And his car? Perfectly boxy.

“Our fans have amazing childhood memories of their birthdays at McDonald’s...and Grimace’s Birthday is all about paying homage to the amazing, fun moments we all share,” said Tariq Hassan, chief marketing and customer experience officer at McDonald’s USA, said in a statement. “We’re excited to put a modern spin on these memories to continue to drive McDonald’s relevance with a new generation. Grimace is the perfect lovable icon to have McDonald’s meet our fans at the intersection of nostalgia and culture.”

As part of the campaign, consumers are also encouraged to help drive donations to the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), a charity that provides accommodation and support for families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at nearby hospitals.

From June 13 to 14, consumers can visit McDonald’s Instagram story and share a picture of their favorite birthday memory via the “add yours” sticker. For every picture shared, the brand pledges to donate $5 to RMHC, culminating in up to $200,000.

In recent months, McDonald’s has shown an interest in bringing back its iconic mascots. In April, the chain brought back the infamous Hamburglar for the first time since 1995 to announce its revamped Big Mac recipe.

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