The gory Grimace Shake trend is killing off TikTokers one McDonald’s promo at a time

By Mason Berlinka

Published Jun 28, 2023 at 02:59 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

You might be noticing a bizarre trend going viral on TikTok at the moment, with hoards of Americans celebrating someone called Grimace and filming birthday messages armed with a special milkshake and meal combo from McDonald’s. Okay, you might now be thinking to yourself: What the hell is a Grimace, and why are these TikTok’s of people trying the now infamous Grimace Shake ending in horrific and intense ways? Don’t fret, we’ve got you.

What is the Grimace Shake trend?

The trend #grimaceshake, which currently has over 570 million views on TikTok, follows a pretty consistent pattern. The person in the video introduces the drink and expresses excitement at finally getting to sample the oh so exciting Grimace Shake. Seems innocent enough right? Well, just wait for this. After an awkward pause which lasts about two seconds, the video cuts and the vibe goes from tame to nightmare fuel very quickly. The person filming will usually find a trail of purple followed by a ‘Grimace victim’ who is disturbed in some sort of way, with the purple drink, more often than not pouring from their mouth, their eyes glassy and distant…


Very berry #grimace #grimaceshake

♬ original sound - minionlover123456

We told you it was creepy! The viral trend has managed to make amateaur horror directors out of pretty much anyone online. Particularly when TikTokers try to make each new Grimace Shake video more disturbing than the last.


♬ original sound - Nora

The implication of course is that Grimace has “gotten” the person in the video, this is then followed by the wishing of a happy birthday to the purple creature. Under these videos, one netizen will comment “Grimace’s 1467th kill” while another writes “He will be Grimissed 😪.”


He will be grim-missed #grimaceshake #mcdonalds #trending

♬ Grimacing Sounds - Jon & Eli

Some people are definitely taking it too far with the shaky camera hold and heavy breathing too, I genuinely might have to sleep with the light on tonight.

Despite being on the cusp of consistent nightmares, it’s nice to see a trend inspire so much creativity among netizens, with everything we learnt from horror films as kids getting put to good use. I’m sure this is far from what McDonald’s had in mind for Grimace’s birthday celebration, but we’re glad to see the internet have so much fun with something that realistically came from inside a corporate boardroom. The only thing left to answer is: Who actually is Grimace? And why are we celebrating his birthday?

Who is Grimace?

I maybe naively thought that all of gen Z were familiar with Grimace and the rest of the cast of McDonald’s ill fated “McDonaldland,” but it seems like the bizarre purple mascot might be more niche than I initially imagined. So, here’s an explainer for those of you who are unfamiliar with McDonald’s old mascots—all of whom should have probably stayed back in the 70s.

Grimace first appeared in the US as part of a series of adverts featuring the burgeresque “McDonaldland,” a fantasy world where the mayor is a cheeseburger (Mayor McCheese), the cop is a big mac (Officer Big Mac)—you get the idea. This bizarre burgertopia also featured a character called the Hamburglar, as well as none other than Grimace, a giant purple monster. Because, why not I guess? Interestingly enough, Grimace began his life as the antagonist in the burgerverse, lore which gives good credence to him being the psychopathic killer he is today.

The ads are creepy to say the least, even without the Grimace Shake trend. Lo-fi vocals and talking burgers feature prominently as Ronald McDonald gallops through the psychedelic burger kingdom. Yeah, I’m not so sure about this one. Either way, the campaign proved successful enough for the characters to be featured on and off from the 70s, right up until the early 2000s.

McDonaldland and its bizarre cast of characters haven’t seen the daylight in a while, but it seems like the fast food chain has managed to strike gold with their nostalgic resurgence of the “taste bud monster,” even if the internet took it in a completely unexpected direction.

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