In this exclusive interview, McKenna Morgan, content editor, License Global, chats with McDonald’s about how its Crocs collab came to be, what inspired the aesthetic of the partnership and more.

McKenna Morgan, Content Editor

December 14, 2023

6 Min Read
McDonald's x Crocs shoes
McDonald's x Crocs shoesMcDonald's, Crocs

McDonald’s is synonymous with fast food. From burgers to fries and Chicken McNuggets, it has become a brand that is more than just the food it serves. It has iconic characters, a recognizable logo and a catchy jingle that is impossible to forget (“ba da ba ba ba”). In recent years, McDonald’s has jumped into the licensed consumer product scene, creating memorable merch for its superfans. Its latest collaboration is in fashion, with the Crocs shoe brand.

The partnership, brokered by McDonald’s licensing agent, The Joester Loria Group, features multiple silhouettes, socks and Jibbitz inspired by McDonald’s golden arches, its Grimace, Hamburglar and Birdie characters and, of course, its menu.

“We are delighted to partner McDonald’s and Crocs for a collaboration that celebrates the power of fandom,” says Debra Joester, president, The Joester Loria Group. “The collaboration is designed to delight both McDonald’s and Crocs loyalists with footwear, socks and jibbitz featuring the beloved McDonaldland characters and Crocs’ distinct aesthetic. As expected, consumer reaction has been fantastic.”

License Global sat down with the team at McDonald’s to discuss how this collaboration celebrates the company, how the Crocs brand aligned with the McDonald’s brand, the inspiration behind the collection and more.

Related:Redefining the McDonald's Happy Meal

License Global: You have had a long-standing partnership with adidas for shoes marketed to the U.S. and APAC separately, but this is your first global footwear partnership. What were you looking to do when creating your first global licensed shoe collab with Crocs? How do the two brands align?

McDonald’s: Our fans were the inspiration behind our first-ever global shoe collab. We know that our fans express their love of McDonald’s in truly unique ways – and Crocs’ fans are no different. With this collab, we hope to give our fans even more ways to express their fandom and show their passion for both brands. Crocs’ brand values also align with ours; both McDonald’s and Crocs prioritize giving back and supporting the local communities we serve. So, we are stepping up for Ronald McDonald House Charities and will make a donation to help families with children who are sick, giving them access to the medical care and resources they need.  

How did you want it to reflect the brand? What was the design process like for this collaboration?

Our designs borrow inspiration from everything fans love about McDonald’s and Crocs, from our beloved McDonald’s characters to personalization opportunities to go-to menu items.   

We also leveraged menu classics fans love, like the Big Mac, Chicken McNuggets and world-famous fries, which have also been part of the cultural conversation for decades. Now, we’re reigniting people’s love for these menu items in a relevant way by turning them into coveted Jibbitz charms. 

We wanted to tap into the current themes of nostalgia by spotlighting a few of our fan-favorite characters. Whether our characters bring back memories from our fans’ childhood or we’re introducing them to the next generation of fans in a fun, relevant way – we wanted to build upon the moment our characters are having in culture.   

Who is your target demographic for this collaboration? 

This collaboration is for all of our adult fans, no matter how they love to experience the brand.  

I’ve been told that your crew was a big inspiration for partnerships, as many on the crew have discussed their love of Crocs. How did their insights help you with this partnership? 

We couldn’t release a line of shoes that are an homage to our fans around the world without celebrating and featuring our crew – who are also fans of McDonald’s and Crocs in their own right – and who we keep at the center of everything we do.    

We selected crew members from around the world to model our footwear designs in looks inspired by the McDonald’s collab, and we leveraged this imagery across our campaign assets. The crew hails from five countries, including the U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand and Spain. 

McDonald's x Crocs

What marketing initiatives did you take to promote this collaboration to that target demographic? How does that marketing look in the U.S. vs. globally? 

We brought the McDonald’s x Crocs collab to life for the fans in several different ways:  

  • Tapping into our equity: By tapping into our owned equity that we know fans love, we were able to create a cultural moment and introduce the McDonald’s characters to new fans.

  • Honing in on audience passion points: We know our audience, particularly the younger fans (Gen Z) value authenticity and being true to oneself and that comes to life in how they express themselves, including their fashion choices. From the faux fur on the Grimace Cozzzy Sandal to the Egg McMuffin Jibbitz charm on the Birdie Clog and the Hamburglar’s mask on the strap of his clog, the McDonald’s x Crocs lend to different ways fans can express themselves and their fandom. 

  • Creating a fan experience: Borrowing inspiration from streetwear drop culture, McDonald’s and Crocs opened pop-up Croc Thru’s in select countries around the globe, including China Mainland, Philippines and New Zealand. In our twist on the classic Drive Thru, fans could literally step into the whimsical world of McDonald’s x Crocs by foot, where fans could purchase shoes, socks and Jibbitz charms. And in some cases, Grimace, Birdie and Hamburglar even made an appearance.

  • Meeting fans on social: We also met our fans where they are – on social media – with fun, engaging content, including lifestyle imagery from our campaign photoshoot spotlighting our McDonald’s characters, crew and the collection.  

  • Customized on a global scale: From a global perspective, we gave markets flexibility within a framework to make the tactics work for their consumers. 

How has the collaboration been received by the public thus far? What do you hope to accomplish with this collaboration?  

Fans around the globe have been raving about the McDonald’s x Crocs collab, generating thousands of unique social mentions. With the collaboration, we hope to give fans a way to live out their fandom every day.  

Can fans expect another drop or other collaborations like this one? 

Outside of our signature McDonald’s x Crocs Classic Clogs and Crocs shoes inspired by the beloved McDonald’s characters, there are not currently any other McDonald’s x Crocs shoes available at this time. However, stay tuned, as there will be more in store for fans. This launch marks the first touchpoint of an extended partnership between McDonald’s and Crocs.   

How has this collaboration reflected the values of McDonald’s, and how did you reflect that in your campaign?

For this campaign, we brought to life the universal truth that a fandom this major is a lifestyle – which is certainly true for both McDonald’s and Crocs’ fans – while spotlighting some of our amazing crew members. We hope this collab will allow our fans to show off how bold they can be as we invite them to step into the world of McDonald’s x Crocs.   

About the Author(s)

McKenna Morgan

Content Editor, License Global

McKenna Morgan is Content Editor for License Global. Based in the Santa Monica office, McKenna specializes in coverage involving non-profits, beauty and cosmetics, health and wellness, new and social media and entertainment licensing.

When McKenna isn’t covering the latest licensing news, she spends her time attending live music shows and finding her next travel destination.

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