We’re not quite sure what it is about McDonald’s, but rappers certainly seem to be lovin’ it. When the fast-food giant teamed up with Travis Scott to bring his favourite meal onto menus in September, fans went wild. Despite the fact that the $6 feast comprised of existing items; a Quarter Pounder with cheese and bacon, medium french fries, barbecue sauce, and a Sprite—so many people flocked to the fast-food chains that it caused a shortage of ingredients like beef and lettuce, and even Quarter Pounders in some branches. In extreme cases, some stole restaurants’ Travis Scott posters and sold them on eBay for hundreds of dollars.
Hours after the launch, Travis Scott released an extensive line of merch on his online shop. The collection includes fast-food themed graphic printed apparel, with notable pieces like the "Tell 'Em Jack Sent You' tee, a tie-dye "bootleg" shirt, an "I'm Lovin' It" pullover hoodie, a "Billions Served" work jacket, and a burger tie. Homeware goods like the Travis Scott McNugget pillow and Cactus Plant Flea Market “Burger Mouth” rug are currently reselling for up to $2,500 on sites like Grailed.
News of the collaboration birthed countless memes, with the root of many jokes revolving around the stereotype of customers, young males dressed in Supreme clothing. It was exactly this demographic of customers who participated in the viral TikTok trend, placing orders with phrases like "Cactus Jack Sent Me", “Let’s keep this short and sweet. I think you know why we’re here”, or simply by blasting “Sicko Mode” without uttering a single word. In turn, McDonald’s requested their employees to familiarize themselves with the unorthodox lingo. The memes fueled more buzz around the collaboration and increased the fast-food company’s brand engagement. On Instagram, McDonald’s’ posts about the Scott campaign earned as much as five times more engagement than its normal content.
Is there any surprise why McDonald’s sought to replicate their success with J Balvin? The following month, the fast-food chain collaborated with the Colombian “Prince of Reggaeton” to deliver another meal with an accompanying collaborative merch collection, and a give-away that is a little shinier than plastic toys. In partnership with shopping app NTWRK, the fast-food chain is giving three lucky customers a chance to win a 2.4 carats Big Mac chain, dotted with brown, white, champagne, and yellow diamonds, a World Famous Fries chain, made with 600 pavé rubies, one carat of yellow diamonds, and set in 14-karat yellow gold, and a McFlurry chain made up of 1,100 set stones of white, black, and blue diamonds, paired with mixed-tone natural blue vivid sapphires.
So we have an amalgamation of rappers, fashion, and luxury. By now, we’re familiar with unusual alliances and cross-industry partnerships. A collaborative culture is customary in the world we live in today. To compete in competitive markets, brands have increasingly searched for ways to stand out amongst the masses, and it’s a practice perhaps most prominent in the fashion industry. At first glance, it may seem unorthodox but fashion has binged on fast food many times before. Kith and Coca Cola’s collaboration in 2016 sold out so quickly that the two joined forces again for a summer capsule collection. The following year, Telfar Clemens collaborated with White Castle. Streetwear brand Anti-Social Social Club partnered with Panda Express. It may warrant a closer look, but the two industries share similarities, one being scarcity. Queues are a common sighting outside of places like Supreme on a Thursday, which is not unlike the 18-hour queue that took place following the opening of Jollibee in London, where some took to reselling the fast-food chain’s crispy fried chicken to hopeful customers in line.
The luxury sector is no exception to collaborations either. What do luxury fashion and fast-food have in common? A penchant for logos, of course. Jeremy Scott stands out as a designer with an eye for mouthwatering meals, his ‘Eat The Rich’ collection in 2006 featured an eclectic mix of food-themed garments, with many pieces rendered in french-fry and burger prints. It’s a visual cue he visited once again during his tenure at Moschino in 2014. Scott’s debut collection introduced a new flavour to the fashion house, as he masterfully reappropriated McDonald's golden arches and signature tomato-red and mustard-yellow uniforms into catwalk-ready creations. The label's revenue rose by almost 7 per cent following the release of the capsule collection the morning after the catwalk show.
Earlier this year, Alexander Wang partnered with McDonald’s to release the exclusive ‘Black x Golden’ collection, which features two bags designed to carry your Happy Meal in the most lavish possible way. The first of the two is the ‘AW Golden Lunch Bag’, an elevated take on the brown paper lunch bag. Wang’s version is made out of the heavy-duty Tyvek® Paper and sports the classic Alexander Wang branding in white, in the middle of the bag. The second is the ‘AW Golden Picnic Basket’ a black hamper lined with sheepskin and Lugano leather, decorated with the classic Alexander Wang ‘A’ in silver and has a McDonald’s co-brand leather tag on the handle.
We don’t know about you, but we’ll be having a Big Mac tonight…