August 9, 2023
The Grimace Shake: How A Cursed Drink Became A Viral Sensation
If you’re chronically online, you might have noticed a purple – and somewhat horrific – viral sensation sweeping through TikTok. Haven’t caught wind of the Grimace Birthday Shake yet? We’ve got you covered, here’s the low-down on this viral milkshake-down.
So, Where Did The Grimace Birthday Shake Come From?
First introduced in 1971 as the Evil Grimace who stole milkshakes, the McDonald’s mascot was later reintroduced as Ronald McDonald’s best friend. Despite the rebrand, Grimace’s new friendly persona could not stop the horrific viral sensation that would come.
In June 2023, McDonald’s released the Grimace-themed meal and purple shake to celebrate Grimace’s 52nd birthday. The berry and vanilla-flavored drink sparked an internet sensation when TikTok creator Austin Fraizer (@thefrazmaz) uploaded a video wishing Grimace a happy birthday.
After just one sip of the Grimace Birthday Shake, the video took a turn for the worse with a quick cut to Fraizer seemingly ‘killed’ by the purple drink.
Shortly after, young TikTokers sprinted to the platform to create their versions of the unhinged video. According to Frazier, we can all thank Burger King’s Spider-Verse Whopper trend for the inspiration.
What Made The Grimace Shake Trend So Successful?
Simply put, it’s fun. Thousands of people hopped on the trend for an opportunity to put their unique spin on this horrifying trend. From lo-fi to cinematic works of art, its absurdity was a natural draw for TikTokers everywhere, resulting in a huge boost of organic engagement across TikTok.
According to CNN Business, just 2 weeks after Fraizer’s first video was posted to TikTok the hashtags #grimaceshake and #grimace amassed nearly 640 million views and more than 750 million views, respectively.
Beyond the organic engagement, Grimace caught the attention of big brands who wanted to capitalize on the fun and brand recognition. With clever participation from big brands like Sonic The Hedgehog, Xbox, and more. The trend reached a wide and diverse audience across socials.
The Grimace Shake Frenzy Across TikTok
As of August 2023, the #grimaceshake hashtag has over 3.2 billion views on TikTok. These videos vary in creativity, but they all pose a catastrophic event after drinking the shake, people creating elaborate scenes around the shake, or people simply reacting to the trend.
The original video that started the trend now has over 3.6 million views and has been liked nearly 500k times.
Celebrities also got in on the action, with actors like Courtney Cox posting a skit with her dog, garnering over 2 million likes.
The most popular video for this viral trend is by creator @cookingwithlynja on TikTok with nearly 60 million views, over 8 million likes, and 1.1 million saves.
Despite its popularity, the purple Grimace Birthday Shake said its goodbyes on July 9, 2023.
The drink that became an unexpected viral sensation is a testament to the power of organic engagement and strong brand recognition. While it is no longer available and the trend is already over, one thing is certain: the Grimace Birthday Shake trend created a lasting impression across social media and gave Grimace a birthday to remember.
Looking to kick off a viral campaign as big as the #grimaceshake? Connect with our team of social experts.