Imagine if, say, the Blue Oval launched a special edition of its flagship Ford GT, but did it with a marketing tie-in to Taco Bell. Bizarre as that may sound, in Japan the new 2022 Nissan GT-R NISMO Special Edition was launched with a collab with McDonald’s — even though in its home country the Nissan GT-R is an automotive celebrity, a household name, like Corvette, that resonates car enthusiasts and regular folks alike.
On stage during the reveal alongside the new NISMO-only Stealth Gray color was a second GT-R NISMO wrapped in reflective gold. Along with the NISMO red detailing on the carbon fiber splitter, side skirts, diffuser, and wheels the color combo instantly evokes McDonald’s french fries (or as they’re called in Japan, simply “potato”).
The marketing tie-in means that the new GT-R NISMO will appear in miniature as a plastic toy in an upcoming “Happy Set,” Japan’s version of the Happy Meal. Regular versions are gray, but a few lucky kids will get a gold version randomly slipped into their artery-clogging dinners. Other cars include a Toyota 86, Mitsubishi Delica D:5, Suzuki Jimny, Toyota Crown police car and Morita fire engine. The promo begins April 16 in Japan.
Additional prizes include a test drive of the 600-horsepower GT-R NISMO at Nissan’s GranDrive showroom just outside of Tokyo. Part of that is a “ride experience” with an official Nissan development driver in the GT-R as well. Hopefully, passengers will be able to keep their McDonald’s lunches down. Runners-up receive a McDonald’s gift card emblazoned with the gold GT-R worth about $10.
This marks McDonald’s Japan’s 50th anniversary, which does have a certain resonance with Japanese citizens. Half a century ago, the fast-food chain helped popularize drive-throughs in the country at a time when personal car ownership was just starting to become a thing. As such, many Japanese have associations with McDonald’s and road trips, which is probably the mental and emotional connection Nissan was going for.