McDonald's Grimace Is Actually A Ginormous Taste Bud

McDonald's has a history of targeting advertising to children, once prominently featuring the toys contained in their Happy Meals before being reprimanded by a Better Business Bureau review board and cautioned to shift their focus back to food, Insider reports. One of the early marketing approaches McDonald's used to attract kids' attention involved the creation of a fictional fast food cartoon realm known as McDonaldland. Ronald McDonald would be the star of the bunch but he would be joined by a cast of other often menu-inspired characters including Mayor McCheese, Officer Big Mac, Hamburglar, and Grimace per Wide Open Eats.

Most of these characters had clear roles and identities. Hamburglar, as his name implies, was a villain who tried to snatch hamburgers from Ronald McDonald and the gang. Officer Big Mac couldn't resist the sandwich after which he was named. Mayor McCheese sported a hamburger for a head. The one character who seemed to remain a mystery was the rotund-looking purple berry thing referred to as Grimace — until one McDonald's employee spilled the beans (via People).

Taste buds look like purple blobs?

The big reveal of Grimace's identity was divulged to the media in 2021 through the person of a McDonald's manager in Windsor, Canada named Brian Bates, who explained that Grimace is actually "an enormous taste bud." The character's purpose is to show that McDonald's food tastes delicious and that you should follow Grimace's lead and enjoy it too (via People).

McDonald's has also previously tweeted that Grimace "is the embodiment of a milkshake or a taste bud." It may be all sunshine and rainbows now, but Grimace does harbor a "shaky" past, originally introduced to McDonaldland as Evil Grimace, an unsavory, four-armed purple menace who pilfered shakes from unsuspecting kids. As if that weren't pernicious enough, Evil Grimace also developed a bad Coke habit–in that he stole Coca-Colas from people as well.

That original approach somehow didn't catch on with children and Grimace's character was ultimately modified into more of a goofy sidekick of Ronald McDonald who had two arms instead of four (via QSR) — everyone knows that taste buds only have two arms.