The Brief: AI Flavor Art and a Chicken WcNuggets


This week’s hot takes on hot topics in experiential marketing cover AI flavor art, a weighty brand misstep and the opening of “WcDonald’s.”



Welcome to WcDonald's: McDonald's Brings Anime Fans' Favorite Fictional Restaurant to LifeInterest in anime is booming, and McDonald’s is staking its claim in the consumer passion point with a multifaceted “WcDonald’s” campaign unveiled last week. For years, anime creators have been incorporating McDonald’s-inspired WcDonald’s restaurants into movies and shows, and now the fast food giant is making the concept a reality.

The first real-life WcDonald’s will be open March 9-10, offering fans in Los Angeles a multisensory dining experience. The restaurant promises 360-degree projection-mapping, limited-edition WcDonald’s menu items like Savory Chili Sauce wrapped in custom packaging, and “genre-bending” entertainment. Consumers can reserve a spot on OpenTable starting Feb. 28.

The campaign will also yield four episodic anime shorts, created in partnership with anime studio pierrot, that dive into the WcDonald’s universe with a story about WcDonald’s Sauce and WcNuggets.

wcdonalds mcdonald's nuggets sauce anime


The195-year-old PHS Philadelphia Flower Show is a floral spectacle that lures a range of sponsors to the Pennsylvania Convention Center every March for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s chief fundraiser. This year, from March 2-10, the nation’s largest horticultural event will be produced under a “United by Flowers” theme that will carry through the show’s floral installations, plant competitions, potting parties, family activities, artisanal crafts, educational sessions, curated marketplace and, yes, sponsor exhibits.

The event’s exclusive sponsors are Bank of America and Independence Blue Cross, while official sponsors include ACME Markets, EP Henry and Hendrick’s Gin, and supporting sponsors include Ketel One and Don Julio.

New experiences for 2024 include an educational gardening speaker series, a “Behind the Blooms” show tour, a roaming Bloom Bar cart offering flower crowns for sale and in the Kids Cocoon play space, a special Flower Show coloring book designed by local artists available for purchase. Booze and flower crowns without the hassle of attending a music festival? Sign. Us. Up.

Meanwhile, if flowers are your brand’s jam but you can’t make it to next week’s show, the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival takes place this April in Philly.

Image renderings: Pennsylvania Horticultural Society


It’s no secret that WeightWatchers has a long, troubled history in its approach to diet culture and weight loss. So much so, that in 2018, with wellness culture and the body positivity movement gaining steam, its parent company was rebranded to WW International, with the tagline “wellness that works.” Even if some consumers weren’t fooled by the brand’s new approach, it appeared to be a step in the right direction, and away from its original Points food system and messaging, which health experts largely agree was an unhealthy program that induced weight cycling.

credit CR_iStock-ozempic injection pensThen last month, WeightWatchers asked society to hold its calorie-free beer. If the brand didn’t ruffle enough feathers with the launch of a membership plan late last year for users of Ozempic, the viral weight loss drug’s “GLP-1 House” event at a Hollywood mansion in January, and sponsored by WeightWatchers, surely did.

An in-depth report published by Bloomberg last week skewered the influencer event. The GLP-1 house, which included installations of oversized injector pens and was designed to promote WeightWatchers’ new prescription obesity drug service, provoked ample backlash on social before it even took place, according to the report, which also detailed the experiences of creators who say the brand asked them to push products they’d never tried.

Photo credit: iStock/Carolina Rudah


CokeSpiced_Exterior_2024 copyArtificial intelligence is coming for your taste buds. This weekend, March 1-2, Coca-Cola is celebrating the launch of its Spiced flavor with a pop-up Spiced Shop at New York City’s ELM that will serve as an AI- and art-driven sampling experience. Using genAI, attendees will be invited to express what they taste and feel when sipping Coke Spiced to create a “visual manifestation” of the experience that they can call uniquely their own.

The brand is teaming up with actress and entrepreneur Storm Reid on the campaign, working with a production artist and fabricators to bring her vision to life by gradually transforming an “ordinary” building in NYC into her AI-powered expression of Coca-Cola Spiced. Once the work is revealed, the public will be invited inside to try Coca-Cola Spiced and create their own flavor-inspired art. (Agency: Momentum Worldwide)

Photos: Courtesy of Momentum Worldwide


solar eclipse_jongsun-lee-unsplashOver the years, our editors have covered a number of different “experiences in the air,” from conferences on a plane to game shows to concerts. But on April 8, Delta is presenting an experience that won’t come around again for another 20 years: the opportunity to literally travel the path of totality for the total solar eclipse on a special flight from Austin, Texas, to Detroit. While Delta Flight 1218 sold out in 24 hours, the brand is promoting a number of other flights that will catch a view of the eclipse as well.

For the event, the brand is flying its aircraft with large windows, an A220-300, for optimal viewing. Although, a retired astrophysicist from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center told NPR: “From the ground you can look in every direction and get the full experience of totality… From a plane you are limited to looking though a small plane window, plus the noise made by the plane.”

And the airport traffic. And the security lines. And the…

Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines followed Delta’s lead and is now offering two flights with birds-eye views of the total solar eclipse as part of its “Solarbration” sweepstakes. Plus, in partnership with Omni Hotels, Southwest is offering two winners a chance to choose one of the two flights and stay in a themed, “out-of-this-world” hotel room at their chosen destination.

Photo credit: Jongsun Lee/Unsplash

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Kait Shea
Posted by Kait Shea

Kait joined EM in 2015 and today enjoys her role as senior editor, digital content. When she’s not in reporter mode, rocking mermaid pants at Comic-Con or running laps at MWC Barcelona, you can find her at home listening to music.
View all articles by Kait Shea →

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