New decade, new McDonald’s and Pokémon partnership. After a two-year break, the partnership between these two pillars of contemporary pop culture has been revived: The Pokèmon Company and the American fast food chain have in fact announced the return of Pokémon Happy Meals, complete with the iconic yellow cardboard boxes bearing a picture of Pikachu from their earlier, more than ten-year-old partnership. The brand-new partnership is devoted to the Pokémon Trading Card Game Match Battle and comes with a deck of cards, a token, and a spinning top that can be used to play a new, simplified version of the venerable collectible card game.The relaunch of Pokèmon Happy Meal, which will soon be available in the US, Canada, and the UK, is merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of recent changes to the Pokèmon universe: In fact, the new Pokémon game will be launched later in the year in addition to the new Match Battles game mode: Future Scarlet & Violet film.
It is evident that the decision to bring the iconic yellow box in the shape of Pikachu to McDonald’s locations indicates a strong desire to revive the popularity of the collectible card game and to bring the Pokèmon universe even more to the public even in the face of some initial organizational difficulties in the distribution of Happy Meals in America (Sesi Jiang discusses it in the online magazine Kotaku).After the huge success of their Western debut, in fact, Pokèmon had managed to pierce the mainstream bubble with Pokèmon GO in 2016, while remaining among the most popular and profitable franchises ever. However, the evolution of the card game and especially video games had shifted Pokèmon’s audience to an audience of gamers and collectors who now, through collaborations with huge global distributors such as Netflix and McDonald’s, seem to want to expand outside their niche again and return to finding a more properly mainstream popularity – the same one it has had for Millennial audience