In late 2020, McDonald’s was at a critical juncture. Like many of the restaurants and businesses affected due to the pandemic, McDonald’s was having a tough time adjusting to it.
However, things turned in September 2020 when McDonald’s and Houston-based rapper Travis Scott announced a collaboration. Travis, who was known to frequent McDonald’s well before the collaboration was ever in the works, was the perfect fit for the brand. McDonald’s reached out to Scott when they saw a post of him on Instagram eating at the restaurant.
As part of the collaboration, the fast-food giant named a meal after the artist, a move that hadn’t happened in nearly three decades. The last time McDonald’s named a meal after a celebrity was in 1992. It was named after the NBA superstar Micheal Jordon, during the time when the hype surrounding the Chicago Bulls was at its peak.
What Did The Collaboration Include
Travis Scott is said to have had a very active involvement in this collaboration with McDonald’s. The partnership had two primary elements-a $6 meal and exclusive merchandise designed by Travis and his team.
- The meal included Travis’ favourite items-that he ordered since he was a kid-such as the Quarter Pounder with cheese, bacon and lettuce, fries with barbecue sauce and a Sprite.
- The limited-run McDonald’s themed merchandise from Travis Scott’s own brand-Cactus Jack- was such a hit that some pieces sold out in a matter of seconds. The merch had everything from jeans, tees, hoodies and even chicken nugget pillows.
In California, Travis Scott was seen rocking the limited-edition merchandise at a local McDonalds. He was also personally serving the meals to customers during the launch.
Apart from naming the meal, Travis even came up with the catchphrase “Tell them Cactus Jack sent you.” Travis also drew the animation for the TV ad.
The Impact of the Partnership
According to Forbes, “McDonald’s debuted the meal in September, and its U.S. same-store sales, a key indicator of a restaurant company’s health, swung from an 8.7% drop in the second quarter, at the height of virus lockdowns, to a 4.6% gain in the third,”. Moreover, Travis Scott made $15 million in merchandise sales and $5 million for the meal collaboration.
The collaboration was received enthusiastically by fans. The meals were so popular at the restaurants that they led to ingredient shortages in some parts of the US.
McDonald’s told ABC News in a statement, “No doubt, Cactus Jack sent you…A LOT of you. SO many of you — In fact, it’s been so lit, some of our restaurants have temporarily sold out of some of the ingredients in the meal. We’re working closely with our suppliers, distributors and franchisees to resupply impacted restaurants as quickly as possible. Stay tuned and don’t worry, we’ve got more surprises from Cactus Jack coming soon.”
Brand collaborations can often come off as an uninspired attempt at money-grubbing the hype surrounding the collaboration. But if the brands genuinely try to curate an authentic experience for the customers, the results can be highly rewarding.