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For the past two years the tune “Sicko Mode” by rapper Travis Scott has occupied a prominent spot on a few of my Spotify playlists. This has meant that I’ve listened to the song almost every day, if not multiple times a day, for the past couple of years. And I still can’t get enough of it. It’s one of the best pieces of hip-hop music and, dare I use this word, “pop” music to emerge in the late 2010s.
On the strength of “Sicko Mode” and a deep catalog of great tracks, Scott has exploded into a major artist. He’s a massive star now. But if you had told me that in 2020, Scott would collaborate with global fast-food behemoth McDonald’s to create and market his own signature meal and merch, I wouldn’t have believed you. But, folks, this has indeed happened. Hence the Travis Scott Meal! McDonald’s has even launched an ad campaign with TV commercials featuring a stop-motion animation version of Scott, presumably voiced by the hip-hop star himself. It’s pretty amazing.
McDonald’s partnering with a hyper-relevant music star of the mega-wattage of Scott’s is unprecedented. What’s as surprising about this arrangement, beyond the collaboration itself, is that somebody of Scott’s celebrity profile would even do so with a brand like McDonald’s Gucci, Dior, Nike, maybe, and not a surprise. But McDonald’s, though? Would never have seen it coming.
As Jon Caramanica writing in the NY Times explains in a recent article…
In exchange, McDonald’s gets some refracted cool and the satisfaction of knowing that thousands of young people might find their way — through the co-branded merchandise — into becoming walking billboards, especially crucial given that while McDonald’s remains among the most valuable fast-food restaurant brands on the planet, with total global revenue of around $21 billion each of the last two years, it’s still a business in overall decline, from a high of $28 billion in 2013. Partnering with Scott is a way to advertise to young people without all the burdens and potential misfires of actually advertising to young people.
The meal is for a limited time, but there will be other merch coming out as part of the collab. I confess, this is pretty awesome, though I’d be hard-pressed to actually try the burger. But how about a Travis Scott action figure?!?! I’d buy a meal to get my hands on something like that for sure!
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