“And my Sprite,” action-figure Travis Scott says cheerily in a commercial for his new McDonald’s meal. “It’s lit!” Those five words alone seem to encapsulate the power of Scott and his ability to run any brand through his filter to help people see it in a new, more generous light. The rapper’s pyrotechnic ad libs are so covetable that they’ve wound up in Fortnite, soundtracking Tenet, applied to a box of Reese’s Puffs, shooting the value of a pair of Jordans into the four figures, and turning a lemon-lime soda into his Sprite. (It’s lit!)
And in Travis Scott’s hands, his seemingly straightforward McDonald’s order—a quarter pounder burger with bacon and shredded lettuce, fries with BBQ sauce, and that Sprite—is an “unprecedented collaborative partnership across food, fashion, and community efforts,” according to a press release. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the meal is already a hit. “Yesterday, wow, we sold a lot of Travis Scott meals,” a manager at a Utah McDonald’s told me.
Along with the meal, Scott dropped merch—59 items total, released on the rapper’s website. There are co-branded T-shirts, others featuring prints of the Scott action figure, and some starring a small squadron of chicken nuggets. But Scott and McDonald’s also got gloriously weird: there’s a brown metal lunch pail, a tie featuring Scott’s shoes and an eagle carrying a chain between two burger buns, a lunch tray with the words “I’m Lovin’ It” seemingly scratched into it by a punk teen, and a chicken nugget body pillow that measures three feet. “The collection features nods to vintage McDonald’s campaigns, and includes items ranging from t-shirts and hoodies to entirely cut and sew garments and collectible accessories,” reads the press release. Even with nearly 60 items released, there is also the promise of more pieces to come over the next week.
If his past collaborations are any indication, Scott’s fans around the country would lose it to have their hands on these new McDonald’s items. But the first people to get their hands on the gear? McDonald’s employees, who are supposed to wear red Scott-designed crew tees with the Cactus Jack logo on it for the duration of the partnership. I decided to call around to a few McDonald’s (66 to be exact) to hear from McDonald’s employees what it was like to work in this year’s biggest collaborative gear. Only one problem: in most stores, the merch had yet to arrive, leaving employees like most mail-watching hypebeasts. Near Houston, where Scott’s from, a store manager said her store hasn’t received the merch yet, but anticipation was building. “We have student [employees], all the students are excited about it,” she said. “They’re waiting for the shirts to arrive but we don’t know when.”
Still, even without the merch, buzz was present at the Golden Arches. Multiple employees are suddenly much more popular with their friends. “A lot of my friends [are hitting me up],” said a manager at a store north of Los Angeles. “They’re really excited about it. They want to know what the burger is or if we’re going to get any merchandise.” Would he buy the items available online? “It’d be pretty cool.” The Houston manager lamented she wouldn’t be able to wear the tees even when they arrive, “because either way I still have to wear the manager uniform.”
The fun really starts when the tees actually come in, though. At the Utah location, the red crew tees arrived and both customers and employees were excited, even if they were not totally clear on the collaboration. “We have a few older [crew members] with us and they say, ‘What is a Travis Scott?’ And we try to explain, he’s a rapper, blah blah blah,” the manager there said. Thankfully, she has a young son who introduced her to Scott’s music—she counts herself a fan now. Since the collaboration was announced yesterday, the Utah store’s fielded tons of calls about the meal and merchandise. One woman came to the store and asked if she could buy one of the tees off an employee’s back “for her son,” the manager said. I ask her if this is the coolest thing to happen to McDonald’s. Scott, after all, is the first celebrity to have their own McDonald’s item since Michael Jordan’s “McJordan Special” in 1992. “You know what?” she said. “This is the first time customers and employees are really excited about something.”
Even with employees reporting varying levels of enthusiasm, they all unanimously reported that they’ve sold a lot of Scott meals. A people department manager at an Orange County, California, McDonald’s said the new meal turned a usually dreary Tuesday into an unusually busy day. Most of the customers were typical ragers: “Young kids, teens, maybe early twenties,” the manager said. That’s the power of Scott: he can turn just about anything—including regular burgers, McDonald’s merch, and chicken nugget body pillows—into must-cop items. “It’s interesting to see people really hyped about it even though it’s a regular burger with the same ingredients we already have here,” the OC manager said. “You could literally just make it, you know?”