McDonald’s Travis Scott meal consumerist ploy

Brandon Flanery

bflanery@uccs.edu 

I am not gonna lie, I like McDonald’s, especially a Big Mac after an intense workout. 

     I am probably a terrible millennial for saying this (as opposed to a “good” millennial that denounces large business as the corruption of the U.S. and only buys local), but I do.  

     I lived in Mumbai, India, for a bit, and there was something special about coming to McDonald’s (especially for their breakfast, because I was going to punch someone if I had to have rice for breakfast one more time) that felt like coming home. Say what you want to say about the U.S. stereotype (you know, that we want to police the world, that we are obese, that we worship capitalism), foreigners might be on to something if I felt the most at home in a McDonald’s and a Starbucks while abroad.  

     But even though I like McDonald’s, I was caught off guard that there was a new meal coming to the golden arches — the Travis Scott Meal. 

     My first question is going to reveal my intense whiteness and severe lack of connection to the hip-hop community, and that is: who is Travis Scott?  

     But second off, and more importantly, why? Why a meal connected to a person? Especially when McDonald’s has never had a national celebrity-branded meal before, and even more especially once I found out that the Travis Scott meal is essentially a quarter-pounder meal with bacon, a Sprite and fries that come with BBQ sauce (not gonna lie, the BBQ sauce with fries was a game changer, especially when you pair it with the bacon in the burger). 

Travis Scott promotional photo for McDonald’s.
Photo courtesy of HighSnobiety.com

     Again, I ask the question: Why? (And this is where Brandon switches into the scary part of his brain — the part that assumes the worst in people and tries to figure out the selfish motive for anything that someone does.) 

  • This is a ploy to get younger consumers. According to StatSocial, 73.61 percent of 21st century hip-hop (Travis Scott’s) listeners are 18 – 24. Not to mention, you have to download the McDonald’s app to get access to the meal, which puts push notifications into the hands of younger consumers. While millennials and Gen Z are more health-conscious and small-business minded, we still love our music. It is no surprise that while I have not heard of the meal (I am 30), I was told about it multiple times by my friends who are under the age of 25, and on TikTok, an app notorious for being used by younger audiences. McDonald’s might have done something.  
  • McDonald’s is targeting lower-income consumers. I mean… it is McDonald’s. So it is not like they have got anything super fancy. But the meal is $6 (perfect for my college-student budget), while the oh-so-delicious Big Mac is $9.89. The Travis Scott meal is literally the biggest bang for your buck, and, again, according to StatSocial, 63.4 percent of 21st century hip-hop listeners make under $50,000 a year.  
  • Probably most sinister is that McDonald’s is capitalizing on the Black Lives Matter movement. According to Statista, 69 percent of Black individuals listen to rap/hip-hop. This means that by connecting a Black artist to a meal, McDonald’s could see an increase in sales as a result of the meal’s connection to a Black pop culture icon.  

     Overall, while my menacing mind doubts McDonald’s Corp.’s motives (after all, it is a large corporation ultimately out to make money, #captitalism), I will likely be switching my post-workout-binge meal from the Big Mac to the Travis Scott meal — not because of the above mentioned reasons (again, I am super white and had no idea who this guy was until I did research), but because it was only $6. Looks like reason number two is working. Nice marketing, McDonald’s.