Following his appointment as creative director, Jeremy Scott’s 2014 debut runway collection for Moschino was themed to be an ode to the brand iconography of several American companies, including, McDonalds. As part of his show, a procession of super-chic McDonalds employees took Moschino’s runway; red-and-yellow visors, Happy Meal purses, McDs fries iPhone cases and all. Moschino’s re-appropriation of the McDonalds brand was seen as an infringement of the brand’s iconic trademark by industry insiders. However, McDonalds shared and promoted the collection on social media, which probably meant the brand took no offense to Scott’s actions.
Four years later, McDonalds South Africa announced a huge collaboration with our very own Gert-Johan Coetzee, ahead of his SA Fashion Week S/S18 showcase. Positioned as a mashup of “iconic fashion and fast food”, the collaboration marked McDonalds’ Bic Mac’s 50th birthday celebrations and acted as their official marketing campaign. “After 50 years of unwavering popularity, the Big Mac is a pop culture icon, and we had to celebrate this milestone with something extraordinary. Seeing its iconography interpreted into fashion by a leading designer is very rewarding,” said McDonald’s SA’s chief marketing and communications officer, Daniel Padiachy.
According to multiple statements, all the proceeds from the limited edition range will go to the Ronald McDonald House Charities, which provide a “safe home, comfort and care to families of children receiving specialised hospital treatment”. Upon hearing about this collaboration, I was incredibly excited. Jeremy Scott’s 2014 re-imagination of the McDonald’s brand popped up. Apart from their gold tassel jacket, the rest of the collection is not as imaginative as I expected. Instead, the collection consists of tracksuits, blinged-up T-shirts and crop tops. Furthermore, the collection is inappropriately priced at a more than premium price point for a “charitable” initiative, which excludes a bulk of the McDonalds customer.
This is a great milestone and career marking event for SA’s beloved designer extraordinaire, GJC. “This is the only collection with the iconic golden arch that is approved by McDonald. The other well known range by Moschino in 2014 was McDonalds inspired, but not approved. This will be the first Gert range to have items available for men. I feel honoured to be able to use the golden arch, as it is by itself a mega pop culture icon,” the designer shared on Instagram.
While I think this was a great initiative and a big win for Gert, I am still battling to see how this benefits the charity, if the 20 items are priced at such a premium price? How does the campaign benefit or enhance the profile of the McDonalds customer, if the collection is this elitist? Has the campaign helped draw traffic to the stores? Has the campaign influenced the sales of Big Mac’s nationwide? Did the campaign create conversation around the 50th anniversary of the iconic burger? Is this another fancy campaign that has no meaningful value for the brand and its customers? Will Sway ever have the answers?
The collection is available on ShopGert.