In the popular culture landscape, few celebrities have managed to build as much hype and momentum around a product as Travis Scott. Scott has seen collaborations with Nike on several famous pairs of shoes and partnered with General Mills to be featured on the front of a Reese’s Puffs cereal box. He’s even found his way to cyberspace — the rapper’s likeness and music are featured in the ultra-popular video game Fortnite.
There seems to be no brand nor medium out of reach for the Houston-based emcee; it was only a matter of time before a fast-food chain would capitalize on his popularity. With Scott’s track record, it comes as no surprise that the fast-food giant McDonald’s would land the superstar.
The Travis Scott Meal came to McDonald’s menus last week and created a surge of tweets, photos and posts. The meal is noteworthy because it is the first celebrity collaboration since Michael Jordan’s McJordan meal in 1992, which was only available at McDonald’s in Chicago.
The widely available nature of the Travis Scott Meal is partnered with a commercial campaign that sees Scott transformed into a 6-inch action figure of himself, the same body featured on the cover of his debut album “Rodeo,” in 2015. This combination was a sure sign that McDonald’s first collaboration in almost 30 years would be a smash hit.
But, what is the Travis Scott Meal? Priced at $6, the Travis Scott Meal is a medium-sized order of fries with BBQ Sauce, a medium Sprite and a burger, complete with a patty, two slices of cheddar cheese, two bacon strips, shredded lettuce, sliced pickles, onions, ketchup and mustard, all between a sesame seed bun.
If that sounds like McDonald’s already-popular Quarter Pounder with Cheese, just with lettuce and bacon, it’s because that’s exactly what it is.
So, in that regard, the burger is good, but not really anything new for regular McDonald’s customers. There’s no exclusive seasoning on the fries, no anomalous flavor of Sprite. Even the dipping sauce is just BBQ sauce. In fact, this exact meal has been available for years. Customers could gain early access simply by saying “add lettuce and bacon,” when ordering a Quarter Pounder with Cheese.
This is likely why the collaboration was announced, revealed and added to the menu all in a few days — to avoid savvy customers discovering this meal isn’t anything new to the menu beyond the celebrity name attached to it.
Although, that seems to be the point. McDonald’s has included in every commercial, poster and advertisement that the Travis Scott Meal is not a new meal; it’s just the meal that Travis Scott likes to order when he goes to McDonald’s.
And in that regard, the Travis Scott Meal is genius. It gives his fans the chance to eat and drink like a famous rapper who has dominated charts and radio waves for half a decade.
Despite the use of a toy version of Scott in the advertisements, the meal is devoid of any kind of toy or collector’s item that could’ve helped drive sales, or provided an exclusive element to the meal. This feels like a bit of a missed opportunity for the restaurant chain.
His merchandise website is already selling a limited amount of T-shirts and apparel advertising the partnership. For those unable to secure the merchandise, the burger is available across the country. This is a change of pace for the rapper’s usual partnerships, which are usually extremely rare and very expensive.
Scott’s collaborations with Nike are notoriously expensive and hard to purchase. Some of his sneakers are sold for over $1,000 on sites like eBay and StockX. Even the Reese’s Puffs cereal box was priced at $50 when it was released in grocery stores. The Fortnite skin was available for $15, and players were given only one day to purchase it.
So, for $6, the Travis Scott Meal doesn’t feel all that expensive, even if what you’re getting is not new. It gives fans and general customers a more attainable piece of Travis Scott.