Welcome to WcDonald’s

February 27th, 2024

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If you build it, they will come. At least that’s what Ingka Group, the operator of IKEA stores, expects to happen when it anchors its malls with the Swedish retailer. The idea is to breathe new life into struggling malls with stores that offer co-working spaces, food halls, and children’s play areas... because “people are looking more for a lifestyle center.” What do you think? Can IKEA convince you to abandon your online shopping carts and trek to the mall?

In other news… McDonald’s becomes “WcDonald’s,” Live Nation bets on stan culture, and streaming makes bank.

Top Trends

Google → Dune: Part 2

Reddit → Mean Girls

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Courtesy of McDonald’s

McDonald’s serves up an anime redesign

The Future. McDonald’s is embracing the booming global popularity of anime and manga with a temporary restaurant redesign and entertainment offering called “WcDonald’s” — a decades-running parody of McDonald’s in Japanese entertainment. Like the growing trend seeing brand mascots get weird, the hottest new marketing item on the menu may soon be satire. Everyone wants to be in on the joke.

Welcome to WcDonald’s
After appearing in anime and manga like Cowboy Bebop and Cat’s Eye, WcDonald’s is becoming a reality.

  • Each restaurant will transport customers to an anime world via “360 projection mapping and immersive tabletop projections.”

  • The visuals are inspired by four anime shorts commissioned from Japanese animation house Studio Pierrot (Naruto), which are accessible via a QR code on the food’s packaging.

  • There’ll also be four digital mangas that’ll be released weekly, illustrated by artist Acky Bright, who’s done work for DC Comics and The Gorillaz.

  • The restaurants will have a set menu and a new savory chili sauce… and all food packaging will have illustrations of manga that the fictional restaurant has appeared in.

WcDonald’s is rolling out in 30 markets worldwide and will last until March 18th. You can reserve a table on WcDonald’s website or on OpenTable… just in case you’re hungry to get in on the action.

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Superfan spending // Illustration by Kate Walker

Live Nations finds that superfans will pay any price

The Future. After recording its most successful year ever, Live Nation thinks that superfans who are willing to spare no expense to see the concert of their dreams is its next growth engine. Ironically, that could influence Live Nation to push bigger acts onto smaller stages for premium shows. The audience may be smaller, but the margins could be massive.

Stan package
Live Nation is rolling out the red carpet… and the cash register… for superfans.

  • The company said that it’d target superfans hard this year with more dynamically priced seats, VIP clubs, Rock Boxes, and bars.

  • It’ll also schedule more tours at company-owned-and-operated amphitheaters and arenas — which, while smaller than stadiums, generate higher per-person spending.

  • CEO Michael Rapino believes that the slated $150 million investment in smaller venues could raise premium-offering revenue from 9% to 35%.

But it’s not just Live Nation that’s set to enjoy the stan spoils — Spotify CEO Daniel Ek announced last month that “superfan clubs” might be on the way.

No one wants to leave money on the stage.

So, now we want to hear from you…


We ask the hard-hitting questions.

Are you a "stan?"

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

50.8% of you voted Yes in yesterday’s poll: Do you use Reddit?

“Basically just when I need crowdsourced answers on traveling, restaurants, etc.”

“Probably never will.”

“They aren’t any more trustworthy than any other platform. Plus, there isn’t enough time in the day to sample them all and do anything else.”

“I don’t like social media.”

“If you choose your subreddits carefully, I find Reddit to be the nicest place on the web.”

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Streaming has liftoff // Illustration by Kate Walker

Streaming is set to take the revenue crown

The Future. A mix of subscriber growth and ad revenue will help streaming make more money than pay-TV in the US for the first time ever later this year. While pay-TV will continue to decline in both users and revenue, more deals like Charter and Disney’s could stem the bleeding and ensure that the cord is never fully cut.

Stream dream
While streaming has had more TV viewership than pay-TV since 2016, it’s lagged behind in making money because a streaming customer is worth 10x less than a pay-TV one.

But that’s finally changing, according to a new report from Ampere Analysis.

  • New ad tiers from Netflix, Disney+, and Prime Video have fueled subscriber growth and increased the average revenue per user (ARPU), which is why the services are pushing customers to them.

  • Password-sharing crackdowns have also been very successful in onboarding new customers, especially onto… you guessed it… the ad tiers.

Those factors will help streaming revenue reach a projected $17.3 billion in Q3, ahead of pay-TV’s $16.7 billion. Those rankings are never expected to flip again.

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The best curated daily stories from around the web

Media, Music, & Entertainment

  • Disney, after a few years of box office headaches, is putting its live-action film division and 20th Century Studios under one roof. Read More → deadline

  • Universal Music Group has acquired a majority stake in Lagos-based Mavin, one of the most influential Afrobeats labels known for breaking talent in Africa. Read More → variety

  • BeScene hopes to be the Tinder of entertainment industry networking… without the romance, of course. Read More → techcrunch

Fashion & E-Commerce

  • Shein may try for a public offering in London after its potential American IPO was met with controversy. Read More → bof

  • Nokia-maker HMD is collabing with Mattel to bring Barbie’s hot pink flip phone to the real world. Read More → engadget

  • Millie Bobbie Brown may be shaping up to be the most influential Gen Zer in fashion. Read More → bof

Tech, Web3, & AI

  • Microsoft has inked a deal with France’s Mistral AI, underlining the firm’s desire to expand its relationships in the industry beyond OpenAI. Read More → bloomberg

  • Narrativ launched a marketplace for celebrities to license their AI likeness to advertisers. Read More → washingtonian

  • The Department of Transportation really doesn’t want people driving while wearing the Apple Vision Pro. Read More → nyt

Creator Economy

  • Redditors aren’t happy about the company’s upcoming IPO… which may spell serious trouble for its stock performance. Read More → theverge

  • X is allowing users who don’t pay for its premium tier to now make audio and video calls. Read More → engadget

  • Florida’s legislature passed a bill that bars major social media platforms from allowing anyone under 16 to sign up for an account and deletes the accounts of any underage users. Read More → nyt

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Today’s email was written by David Vendrell.
Edited by Boye Akolade. Copy edited by Kait Cunniff.
Published by Darline Salazar.

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