McDonald's Hamburglar Meme Is A TikTok Grimace Trend Wannabe

It seems McDonald's is in its "How do you do, fellow kids?" era as the fast food chain has attempted to muscle its way into a meme its social media team is just barely Gen Z enough to understand. After the recent viral Grimace shake trend saw thousands of TikTok users acting as unpaid advertisers for the McDonald's brand through hilarious comedy horror skits, it seems McDonald's has tried to enter the world of viral TikTok trends, this time on their own terms.

A social media post shared by McDonald's official Instagram account displays another iconic mascot, The Hamburglar, beneath text referencing a viral TikTok sound bit of a woman shouting "Attenzione Pickpocket!" The original video blew up online after a woman called attention to pickpockets in Venice, known for preying on unsuspecting tourists. Since then, the audio has been used in a number of humorous formats, being used in everything from adorable cat videos to customers complaining about high gratuity at restaurants. 

With its latest Instagram post, McDonald's hoped to take part in the viral craze by featuring another one of its mascots. But it's unlike the Hamburglar receives the same response.

Can McDonald's recapture the magic of the Grimace trend?

By now we all know the Grimace trend was a major runaway hit, reaching audiences far and wide in a display that serves as equal parts mockery and promotion of the corporate fast food giant. McDonald's attempt to get in on the TikTok crowd's sense of irony and creative use of recurring audio cues is admirable but fails to understand the basic tenets of what makes a trend like this grow to begin with. First and foremost, the Grimace trend was natural, created by a TikToker as a joke, and not forced by a corporate mandate. 

Gen Z can sniff out a corporate entity online with relative ease, and likely won't be quick to engage with a marketing department's hackneyed attempt to relate to them. The Grimace trend took off because TikTok users were laughing at McDonald's marketing gimmicks — not with them. It will be difficult for lightning to strike twice. As one person wrote, "Bruh we still processing the grimace shake."

Of course, the Instagram post, captioned "Have u seen this thief" seems to be pulling a decent amount of traffic from enthusiastic fans eager to engage with the brand's social media, in an attempt to bring back "stolen" menu items, or offer their ideas on how to make the Hamburglar a more popular character. While it seems highly doubtful that McDonald's marketing team can imbue the Hamburglar with the same staying power, the attempt doesn't seem to be doing any harm either.