MacDonald’s J Balvin and Travis Scott collaborations highlight McDonald’s post-pandemic marketing model, says GlobalData

McDonald’s new artist collaboration with J Balvin is a simple but effective marketing move, especially in this post-pandemic consumer climate. The pandemic has severely affected the US fast-food industry with the forecast value growth in 2020 set to slip from 3.4% to -27.4%* – a decline from a base value of US$246.0bn in 2019 to a new projection of US$178.3bn in 2020*. Under this context, the deal is a good play as it makes logistical sense, taps into popular nostalgic 90s themes, and it uses star power, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Amira Freyer-Elgendy, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, commented: ‘‘Instead of creating a new item for its menu, McDonalds is repackaging what is already available – certainly due to the outbreak conditions. This significantly reduces the logistics involved: no need to formulate, taste test, distribute new ingredients to stores or train staff how to cook the new product. It’s a time and resource saver. This is especially important, as McDonalds has been working on simplifying its menu and trimming down its offerings in light of COVID-19.”

The move follows the brands’ collaboration with Travis Scott last month, which also aligned the fast food giant with popular nostalgic themes, pop culture trends, and minimized logistical challenges.

Nostalgia and familiarity are two big factors here. In a survey by GlobalData, 67%** of US consumers reported to going to fast-food establishments less or stopped visiting entirely during the pandemic period, and these strategies are aiming to entice them back. Surrounded by such unfamiliar circumstances, consumers are craving familiarity right now. According to GlobalData, around 65%*** of US consumers are always or often influenced by how familiar, risk-free or trust-worthy the product/service seems.

Freyer-Elgendy continues: ‘The 90’s feel within the promotion MacDonald’s had with Travis Scott ran throughout the clothing line, which is vintage-inspired and falls in line with Travis’ general brand. With nearly one in four** US consumers feeling stressed and anxious, consumers are interested in finding soothing and familiar products, which the 90’s nostalgia can provide.”

Travis Scott is a safe bet for this collaboration. He is a well-known pop figure who is popular with young consumers, and has already proven to have an audience pull with the success of his previous collaborations. For this partnership, the online developments were especially noteworthy – in part due to Scott’s younger fan base and because around 32%** of US consumers believe that they will be browsing more social media due to COVID-19. With more consumers online, social media marketing has grown in importance.  Once the launch was announced, it occupied the number one trending spot on Twitter, and on TikTok a trend relating to the meal has taken off.

Freyer-Elgendy adds: “The media buzz is certainly showing a promising result from the partnership. If this continues to go well, McDonald’s will delve more deeply into these collaborations by offering more signature orders from other celebrities for a limited time. Travis Scott and J Balvin Meals are only the beginning.”

* COVID-19: COVID-19 Impact Market Model – Foodservice, accessed on 25/09/2020
** GlobalData’s Weekly COVID-19 Tracker Survey – US – Week 1-10 – run from 25th March 2020 and 31 May 2020
*** GlobalData’s Bi-weekly COVID-19 Recovery Tracker – US – Week 8 – published September 23rd

More Media