McDonald’s is collaborating with BTS, the Korean pop sensation, for its latest celebrity meal — and this time, it’s going international. The fittingly named BTS Meal will be available starting May 26 in the US, Canada and Brazil, while McDonald’s locations in 50 other countries spanning six continents will get the meal soon after.
As McDonald’s’ first celebrity meal to debut worldwide, the BTS Meal includes “a 10 or 9-piece Chicken McNuggets (depending on your market), medium World Famous Fries, a medium drink and two dipping sauces – Sweet Chili and Cajun – inspired by recipes from McDonald’s South Korea,” according to a press release.
Coming this May: The BTS Meal pic.twitter.com/iarw2gYMsx
— McDonald’s⁷ (@McDonalds) April 19, 2021
McDonald’s first shared the news of the collaboration on Twitter, and within hours, the tweet went viral and fans could not contain their excitement. BTS fans, also know as the ‘BTS Army,’ eagerly awaited when the band’s favorite meal would be available in their home country of South Korea. The good news is that the BTS Meal will make its South Korean debut just a day after the initial launch on May 27.
“The band has great memories with McDonald’s,” said BRIGHT MUSIC, BTS’ label, in a press release. “We’re excited about this collaboration and can’t wait to share the BTS Meal with the world.”
The McDonald’s and BTS partnership is the latest instalment of the fast food chain’s Famous Orders program, which launched in the US last year. The program featured partnerships with musicians Travis Scott and J Balvin, whose orders marked the first celebrity meal at McDonald’s since basketball icon Michael Jordan’s 1992 McJordan burger.
The early success of the Famous Orders program could have been what prompted the BTS Meal. The Travis Scott Meal, which debuted in September last year, was accompanied by a merchandise line featuring a large Chicken McNugget pillow. The meal also prompted a TikTok trend in which customers pulled up to the McDonald’s drive-thru blasting Scott’s hit song “Sicko Mode.” The overwhelming popularity of the Travis Scott Meal even contributed to a shortage in key ingredients at McDonald’s.
Following the success of the Travis Scott Meal, McDonald’s released the J Balvin Meal in the US on November 1, 2020. Similar to Scott’s meal, J Balvin’s meal doesn’t feature any new ingredients or menu items. Rather, it repackages existing items to create buzz without employees having to learn how to make something new.
Last year in its Superbowl commercial, McDonald’s featured other famous orders from Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Whoopi Goldberg, Magic Johnson, Keith Urban and others. So, why does McDonald’s rely so heavily on celebrity on endorsement? Like most fast food chains, it manages on very thin profit margins, so celebrity partnerships, promotions and new menu items — or old ones under different names — help them stand out from competitors.
Fast food and quick-serve restaurants are also trying to drive customers to their apps, and McDonald’s is no exception. McDonald’s has been offering up app-exclusive deals, and even a few free items, through their app, hoping to compete with third-party delivery services. With promotions, exclusives and loyalty programs, apps tend to boost customer retention and sales.
The BTS Meal can be purchased through the McDonald’s app or in-store starting May 26.