Fast Food Name Branding – Is it for Clout?

masslive.com (via D’amelio’s Instagram)
D’amelio with her drink

Americans are obsessed with stardom and will do anything they can to emulate the lives of the rich and famous. We idolize them to the point that we pay attention to their clothes, actions, and even food choices. It is nothing new to see stars partnering with companies, large and small, to endorse everything from cosmetics to clothing to accessories. However, one key area of celebrity endorsement has until recently, remained untapped, and that is the fast-food industry. Spearheading this long-awaited trend are two iconic fast-food chains, Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s.

One of the celebrities partnering with Dunkin’ Donuts is Charli D’amelio. On a popular video-sharing app called Tik Tok, D’amelio is what one would call a sensation among viewers. The 16-year-old influencer entices her audiences with fun dances and catchy songs. One of her main taglines is her deep love for Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. Fans went wild when she announced that her regular order, a cold brew with whole milk and caramel, would appear on the Dunkin’ Donuts menu as “The Charli” starting Sept. 2. The partnership has already set off staggering growth for the coffee dynasty. According to TubeFilter, the new Dunkin’ drink has caused a 57% surge in daily app downloads as well as a 45% increase in overall cold brew sales, each one selling for $3.19.

Scott with his meal (mashed.com (Jerritt Clark/Getty Images))

Soon after, Travis Scott released his name-branded meal with McDonald’s on Sept. 8. Scott is a rap artist with hit songs such as “goosebumps” and “SICKO MODE”. He has worked alongside other esteemed artists such as Drake, Young Thug, and Kanye West. Scott’s fans couldn’t wait to get their favorite rapper’s go-to meal: a quarter pounder with cheese, bacon, and lettuce, fries with barbecue sauce, and a Sprite. According to CNN, this was Scott’s regular McDonald’s order as a child. His partnership with McDonald’s is the first since Michael Jordan’s “McJordan” meal debuted in 1992.

Getting these fast-food items has, unsurprisingly, amassed into a popular online trend. Many videos of fans ordering these items have already gone viral, some even reaching millions of views and likes. Many are left wondering if these fast-food items will remain popular, or if they are just another short-lived social media fad.

Celebrity product endorsement is a billion-dollar industry in America. While some celebrity partnerships seem to trail off after a short amount of time, others stick around and prove extremely successful. According to Finance 101, David Beckham, formerly of Manchester United, signed a $160 million lifetime contract for his line of shoes with Adidas. Just this one example of a successful partnership likely explains why food companies such as McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts felt inclined to jump on the trend.

Success starts with one question: whether or not consumers enjoy a company’s product. Senior Kyler Lehman was one of the first to get the Travis Scott Meal, trying it shortly after its debut on the McDonald’s menu.

He stated, The burger was good. Once I bit into it, Travis’ music started playing in my head. Seriously, the burger was speaking to me on multiple levels.”

Rachel Nakisher, another senior at BHS, gave her opinion on The Charli. “The Charli was good! My friend Emma and I both liked it! It was sweet and sugary, but overall I would recommend it!”

McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts logos respectively (freepnglogos.com)

Both Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s seem to be receiving rave reviews about their new menu items.

In the words of Drayton Martin, Vice President of Dunkin’ Donuts, “Everyone knows that Charli runs on Dunkin’, and now Dunkin’ runs on Charli.”

For now, this marketing strategy seems to be reeling in customers at a rapid rate for the multi-billion dollar companies. Only time will tell if this method proves to be a long-lasting success.