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Why Are Celebrities Teaming Up with Fast Food?

Cover Photo by Sepet via Unsplash

A Travis Scott burger? A J Balvin combo meal? A Charli D’Amelio iced coffee? As if you didn’t see enough of your favorite celebrities already, you can now encounter them at the drive-through, too. Fast food chains are elevating their collaboration game. Consumers are eating it up (pun intended). What’s really behind this industry-transcending trend?

The art of fast food establishments teaming up with big names isn’t exactly new. Remember Subway’s slew of insidiously catchy “$5 footlong” commercials back in the early 2010s, featuring beloved athletes like Nastia Liukin, Apolo Ohno, and Michael Phelps? Partnerships like these, however, seem to make a lot of sense. Subway has marketed itself as a provider of fresh, healthy, and fueling meals, and so teaming up with some of the most well-known powerhouses in sport is right up the company’s alley. 

What’s the connection between rappers and French fries, though? I’m still trying to figure that one out. The tie appears rather random. Regardless of my qualms, however, these seemingly arbitrary collaborations have quickly infiltrated the mainstream of popular culture. McDonald’s launched its joint campaign with Travis Scott on September 8, which lasted for one month. The meal in question, deemed the “Cactus Jack,” is little more than a dolled-up Quarter Pounder, fries with dipping sauce, and a soda. As tends to happen, Tik Tokers quickly seized the opportunity to drum up a new trend: customers head to the drive-through, state, “you know why I’m here,” and proceed to blast the opening bars of Scott’s smash hit “SICKO MODE.” 

 

@betch“travis scott BurgEr” @jimmypasta♬ original sound – betch

https://www.tiktok.com/embed.js

 

In some franchises, the extent of public acclaim even led to brief supplies shortages. However, many believe that the public’s enthusiasm for the meal might be more attributable to its inexpensiveness (consumers need only shell out $6) than its link to Travis Scott. 

New to the McDonald’s lineup of celebrity collaborations is the J Balvin Meal, which pulls together fries, an Oreo McFlurry, and a Big Mac for a pit stop that is both sweet and salty. Will customers soon pull up to the pickup window blaring “Mi Gente” from their speakers? I suppose only time will tell. 

I have to wonder — what’s next? Pop Smoke trying to sell me a pizza? 21 Savage promoting tacos? Future hawking a fried fish sandwich? The endeavors we’ve seen so far have achieved marked success, so I certainly won’t be surprised at the advent of further collaborations. 

What’s your take on all these seemingly odd partnerships? Are they profound new mechanisms to unite the world of culinary arts with music? Are they mere instances of a world steeped in mass consumption? Let us know in the poll below. 

Cover Photo by Sepet via Unsplash

  • What do you make of celebrity fast food collaborations?

    • They’re so much fun!
    • I don’t get the trend

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Written by Megan Pontin

Enthusiastic word-collector, avid pancake-consumer, and experienced hammock-lounger. Student at Cornell University.

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