Now, starting today, January 29, he’s also a major packaged-food brand.
Donaldson is officially debuting his new Feastables brand and consumer-products company, starting with the MrBeast Bar—three flavored chocolate bars made with only four or five simple, plant-based, gluten-free ingredients. (As someone with Crohn’s disease, Donaldson has long found it challenging to find products that meet his needs and standards on ingredients and are also fun.)
Naturally, this would not be a MrBeast production without an elaborate, epic-level stunt-of-a-launch. To start, Donaldson has announced a $1 million sweepstakes in prizes and offers, including Teslas, Sea Doos, Super73 electric bikes, Artesian Builds gaming computers, Turtle Beach gaming bundles, Beats by Dre earbuds, a lifetime of chocolate, cash prizes, MrBeast merch, and (believe it or not) more. Then, over the coming months, Donaldson is going Full Wonka and inviting 10 lucky Grand Prize winners to travel to compete in a MrBeast video for the chance to win MrBeast’s Chocolate Factory.
Donaldson tells Fast Company that his approach to launching a new food company is very similar to how he approaches most of his ideas. “What is something I think my audience will get most excited about, that they’ll like, what’s interesting, what’s the most spectacular thing we can do?” he says. “And it doesn’t get more of a spectacle than flying people in to compete for a chocolate factory.”
Behind the spectacle, Donaldson is serious about building a consumer-products company as part of his burgeoning empire. To help him do so, he brought on former RXBar president Jim Murray last year. RXBar won a lot of fans, thanks to a simple ingredient list and minimalist branding; Kellogg’s acquired it in 2017 for $600 million. Murray says that Donaldson isn’t just a big name slapping his name on a product, but the real deal. “From a brand standpoint and understanding his audience, he’s brilliant,” says Murray. “The way he thinks about business is incredibly impressive, and I’ve learned a lot from him.”
The MrBeast Bars come in three versions—chocolate, almond chocolate, and quinoa crunch chocolate—and will sell for about $3 to $3.50 each at Walmart, through the food-delivery service Gopuff, and direct via the Feastables website (coming soon). The process of picking flavors, Donaldson explains, wasn’t exactly scientific. “They’d hand me bars, and I’d either say, ‘This is good’ or ‘This is terrible,’” he says. “And we did that for half a year.”
Many brands rely on influencer marketing, creating stunts and gimmicks for advertising (looking at you, Oscar Mayer . . .), but the distinction here is that the core of this brand is built around the very appeal that Donaldson has built over the last decade. “As a brand, we’re building it centered around gamification,” says Murray. “The stunts, the spectacles, the interaction that Jimmy is known for, we want to bring that to his audience and beyond as Feastables. The sweepstakes will act as an announcement of that brand intent as we launch. It’s about high-quality food that’s all about fun.”
Donaldson and Feastables have been seeding the launch by sending mystery boxes to 100 other influencers, such as Casey Neistat, which are timed to open as the launch is announced and consequently, create a social flywheel of content around the new brand.
it appears that mr beast sent me some sort of time ???? pic.twitter.com/IEmvNx4Vet
— Casey Neistat (@Casey) January 27, 2022
Part of the fun for Donaldson is instilling an agility within the brand—in everything from content to product development. “Step one, in these first few months, is the chocolate factory sweepstakes, then past that, we’ll see what happens,” says Donaldson, before firing a warning shot at anyone who may be underestimating his ambitions for Feastables. “The problem is, if you plan out a year ahead, after three months you’re going to hate it, because it’s old. A lot of brands, especially conglomerates that own so many brands, they’re just too big and slow. So, I definitely want to take advantage of that.”