"1. Place fries and seasoning into the bag; 2. Seal the bag tightly and shake it like Psy’s "Gangnam Style."; 3. Open the bag and enjoy your fries."
Those are the instructions — translated from Malaysian — along the bottom of a McDonald's French fries bag.
Korean performer Psy — responsible for the K-pop video "Gangnam Style" that has become a global phenomenon, the #2 song in America and the most-liked video in YouTube history (take that, "Call Me Maybe") — tweeted a photo of the bag with the message, "They know how to do it Malaysia~!!!!! LOL."
An excellent viral campaign by McDonald's ... except it wasn't.
According to Astro Awani, "Malaysia's first 24-hour news & information channel," McDonald's Malaysia has denied any involvement in the "shaker" bag. In a statement, corporate communications director for McDonald’s Malaysia, Najat Fuad said, "With regard to the recent tweet posted by Psy, we wish to clarify that the McShaker Fries bag featured in the post was not produced by McDonald’s Malaysia."
As we have noted, from Thai Airlines to Major League Baseball, capitalizing on the global "Gangnam Style" craze for commercial ventures is not unheard of (even Psy's father is cashing in), which made the McDonald's bag all the more believable and Reddit-ready.
As Psy vows to perform his horsey dance topless if he hits #1 on the Billboard music charts, the Korean performer has now returned to his home country following a whirlwind three-week press blitz in the U.S., where he gave Ellen DeGeneres her best TV ratings since 2003 and helped establish his personal brand beyond a caricaturem — even as it's bound to inspire countless Halloween costumes this year.
As Bloomberg Businessweek notes of the 34-year-old singer (real name: Park Jae-sang) who was just signed by powerhouse L.A. talent agent Scooter Braun, we now know the back story (thanks to Ryan Seacrest's interview) about the prancing pop star:
Psy’s confident demeanor and sharp humor may reflect that he’s already a popular and controversial star in Korea. What’s more, he’s a graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music who speaks great English and has a wry sense of humor. Psy also grew up near Gangnam, the tony district of Seoul that he parodies so well in his video.
And even though the McDonald's McShaker bag may be an ingenius fake, other brands are doing real business with Psy. Fashion label JillStuart NY is tapping into Psy-mania for its Spring/Summer 2013 collection (watch Psy charm a faux Anna Wintour, below):
Universities have also made "Gangnam Style" part of an education. Both the Oregon and Ohio universities have together accumulated up over 3 million YouTube views of their marching bands performing the song. The Harvard Business Review even used the song to teach a little something about marketing in a blog post titled "Marketing, Gangnam Style":
"Bill Lee, in a widely-read HBR blog, argued that 'Marketing is Dead' in order to explain how the traditional marketing model between the manufacturer and consumer needs to be changed. That assertion is very much evident in the success of 'Gangnam Style,' which appears to have faithfully followed a social network-oriented playbook in its media use, content development and message."
Harder to believe than the mock McDonald's Gangnam fry bag is the fact that North Korea has turned to the song to criticize South Korea's leader. Yet, that's true.
Now, some YouTubers are alleging that the Google-owned video platform is intentionally keeping Psy's near 300 million-views song off its top charts. Flash mob justice, Gangnam Style?