Shake Shack Cuddles Up With Crinkle-Cut Pillow -- Want Fries With That?

I’ve heard of “sleeping with the fishes.” But never “sleeping with the fries,” unless you have some sort of rare potato-hoarding-situation in your bed, and that should remain private.

Nevertheless, in honor of National French Fry Day July 12, Shake Shack, the gourmet fast-casual restaurant chain with 377 locations, has collaborated with Bearaby, an innovative home design company in the weighted blanket space.

Yes, this odd couple has joined to produce the Crinkle Cut Cuddler, an “ultra-huggable” body pillow with a bright yellow color, bearing the fun, zig-zag shape of said fries. It’s very cute, and is packaged in a takeout box. This cuddler is being sold on a limited basis on the Bearaby web site for $149.

Brand collaborations have been one of the most popular and successful marketing trends for many years. Usually, the brands involved have some sort of synergy, and both profit from the increased attention and headlines the union brings. Plus, if people love the brand (which is the case with both Shake Shack and the pillow maker) their customers will probably want to seek out the new baby.



Some of the more successful collabs lately include Apple/Hermes, Target/Missoni, and in a divine marriage of flavors, there’s Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco for Taco Bell, an inspired sales sky-rocketer for both brands.

In this case, however, pricey body pillows and less-oily fries are an unlikely match, unless you’re trying to come up with a new version of a couch potato. Or as Bearably said in some of its copy, it’s where comfort food meets comfort bedding. Still, that’s a stretch.

Yet both companies sell upscale versions of products in their categories. Shake Shack is the invention of celebrity chef and high foodie restaurateur Danny Meyer (who gets mentioned in “The Bear,” btw). There’s a lot of design DNA in its back story, starting out in 2001 as a hot dog cart in a then-dodgy Madison Square Park in New York City. The city approached Meyer to move into a new branded dwelling as an anchor for the park’s rehabilitation. Chef Meyer had a hand in everything, and the now-famous kiosk was designed by an environmentally sensitive architecture firm.

Immediately, lines started looping around the park, with customers sometimes waiting for hours for the unique shakes and delicious twists in the expanded menu.

Crinkle cuts are one of the items that SS is famous for, but a dedicated customer in my family deadpanned that “their burgers are great, but their fries not so much.”  Shake Shack has recently switched the recipe to using plant-based oil.

Still, a case could be made that the fries are one of the Shack’s most popular items, as is the predecessor to the Crinkle Cut, the Bearaby Cuddler Body Pillow, which sells for $199.

Who knows how the Bear and the Shack connected and how the deal came to be.

Normally, say for Arby’s on Father’s Day, which was giving out golf clubs, there’s some free stuff -- and customers love free stuff.  Bearaby’s long, fry-shaped pillow is a model of comfy “statement” home décor, even if you have no particular interest in or obsession with tubers. The cover is also washable and the pillow arrives in a cute, takeout-inspired box.  At least for customers who are quick on the draw to order one, Shake Shack will throw in a free coupon for fries.

Hey, collaborations are all about creativity, and innovation, and this one does get attention.

If for Shake Shack it turns into a face-palm, an unmitigated flop -- well, at least you have a three-figure zigzag crinkler to fall back on.

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