Travis Scott, also known as Cactus Jack, has been sending hundreds of hungry hypebeasts to McDonald’s around the country and the Triangle, with one mission: to try his best-selling burger.
Fans desperate to chow down on “The Travis Scott Meal,” a $6, 1,240-calorie meal, are swarming McDonald’s, causing the chain to scramble to keep Scott’s signature burgers flipping and his favorite fries crispy. McDonald’s collaborated with the Grammy-nominated rapper to create Cactus Jack’s three fast food favorites: a Quarter Pounder with cheese, fries with BBQ sauce and a Sprite with extra ice.
Although critics claim this is simply clever marketing of a regular burger combo, McDonald’s denies such accusations.
"Nah, it's also got shredded lettuce and crispy bacon because that's how Cactus Jack likes it (straight up!)," McDonald’s said on its website.
Deb Aikat, associate professor at UNC's Hussman School of Journalism and Media, discussed the marketing strategy behind the partnership between Travis Scott and McDonald’s.
“I think this is a trend which highlights the power of celebrity in consumer markets,” Aikat said. “What has amazed me is McDonald's trying to go back to its staple, and they have done a great job of finding the right celebrity and matching it with a meal so much their quarter-pound patty is scarce in some communities, because there are so many people wanting to have it.”
The rapper-restaurant collaboration has resulted in a boost in sales and viral marketing, with ordering antics filling TikTok pages and Twitter timelines. Within a week of the meal being released, McDonald’s has experienced burger shortages due to unexpected demand and some unintended consequences — like customer trollings.
Social media feeds are full of fans blasting Scott’s hit song “Sicko Mode” in drive-thru speakers, using vulgar variations of the burger’s catchphrase when ordering and expressing outrage when McDonald’s was out of Scott’s food and exclusive merchandise.
Sophomore Jonathan Piccillo gave the Travis Scott burger two BBQ-covered thumbs up.
“I saw the burger on an advertisement with Travis Scott, and I was like, 'Damn, that sounds pretty good.' So I went to McDonald's and I got it,” Piccillo said. “And as I took that first bite, I got some goosebumps. It tasted like I was listening to 'Sicko Mode.' It was very lit.”
But not everyone gets those goosebumps every time. Junior Matt Schinsky felt the Travis Scott Meal was not a good value.
“It’s not any more expensive than a Quarter Pounder with fries, but it’s just not the best use of your $6 while you're at McDonald's,” Schinsky said. “I'd much rather just get six McChickens.”
2020 graduate Josh Krause also didn't feel lit after ordering The Travis Scott.
“When I went to get my burger, I was hit with a needless bait-and-switch over a promised T-shirt,” Krause said. “I was told I was the 1,000th person to order the ‘Travy Patty’ at that establishment. The cashier even looked at the screen twice to double-check, but when we went to the other window, the guy was like, ‘No, no shirt.’”
An employee from the McDonald's location declined to comment.
Although disappointed with the failed promise, Krause still enjoyed the burger’s taste, particularly the BBQ sauce that comes with the meal.
This is only the second time in McDonald's history that the franchise has collaborated with a celebrity on a meal. Michael Jordan was the first in the early '90s, with the McJordan. Jordan’s burger also featured BBQ sauce.
As a prominent Generation Z influencer, Scott boosts almost any product his name is attached to, whether it is music, clothing, footwear and now, food.
“I mean, props to Travis,” Schinsky said. “He finessed me out of $6 and I respect that.”
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