BTS Meal: A Legacy from Travis Scott

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Social media was enlivened with the #BTSMeal phenomenon, a global collaboration between McDonald's and the South Korean music group BTS. As I’m writing this mini-article (June 9, 2021, at 19.48 WIB), the hashtag #BTSMeal is still in the trending column of Twitter in Indonesia.

Collaboration with Travis Scott

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Brand and artist collaboration is not really a new thing — even more, transforming into different formats and mediums — in September 2020, McD is also doing a similar collaboration with Travis Scott in the United States. This collaboration marks a new paradigm for McD in conducting business and marketing strategies, especially when doing a short-term promotion. The last time they rebranded the menu using the artist’s name was in 1992. At that time, Michael Jordan was the one they choose.

When McDonald’s entered into a partnership with Scott, they decided to release a limited edition of Scott’s favorite meal, a Quarter Pounder with cheese, fries with barbecue sauce, and a Sprite. Sounds pretty basic. It doesn’t even have any special ingredients. But that level of simplicity made the campaign seem real.

Some sources write that Scott grew up in Houston eating that very meal at McDonald’s. Long before the partnership, he talked about his love for McDonald’s and posted about it on social media.

The High-risk Bet That Worked

Partnering with Scott wasn’t actually a risk from customers' and Gen Z's point of view, as Scott is one of the most respected artists and role models these days. But to McDonald’s, it was a shift from doing things the way it used to. The move even harder, remembering McD has been around for so long. I personally will think, “well, if I am a multi-billion dollar company, do I really need to change?” But the most successful companies realize that change has to be in their DNA for continued success. Apple, for example, made a great deal on shifting their focus to Apple’s Service. In 2016 the iPhone experienced its first-ever decline in sales. Instead of doing something that successful in the past, in early 2017, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook decided to double Apple’s Service’s revenues within four years. By 2019 services generated 18% of Apple’s revenue.

The same goes for McD, before the collaboration with Travis Scott, pandemic brought the sales number down to 8% in the second quarter of 2020. In the next quarter, they reported that the sales went up to 4.6%. Even better, the strategy helped McDonald’s achieve its best monthly sales in nearly 10 years, and its stock hit the new all-time high that time on October 15th, about a month after the campaign started in the United States. Posts made about Scott on McDonald’s Instagram page also generated five times as much as the normal engagement. According to data from Kantar, the engagement has jumped by 61% over the past months of the campaign. It’s clear that the bet was paid off well.

The “You Know Why I’m Here” Trend

While the collaboration itself is a huge success, the social media users spark it even more with the drive-thru trend and make it a step further.

The “You Know Why I’m Here” video went viral mostly on TikTok, showing customers who drive-thru at McDonald’s to order the Travis Scott meal. Instead of doing a ‘normal’ drive-thru, they mostly said, “You Know Why I’m Here.” Some videos showing a direct response from the staff, others look a bit confused because firstly, this trend has happened on TikTok, you know, not all of us using it.

How About BTS Meal?

This strategy might be a McDonald’s strategic move to bump up their business performance, but, as usual, the co-branding product that has launched this week in Indonesia already ignite conversation on social media, thanks to strong BTS fans’ roots and loyalty. Most of the conversation centered between ojol driver, McD management that failed to handle the crowd (some stores forced to shut down the operation by authorities), Sisca Kohl who made the meal into ice cream (I know, right 🤣), and the pre-loved packaging which already listed on the marketplace.

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Even though McD is still selling this product tomorrow or even next week, it looks like BTS fans can’t wait any longer to taste McNuggets®, fries, coke, and the special sauces with their favorite music group branding on it.

I can’t wait to see how this rolled out in terms of business and marketing. Hope it goes well~

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