Tip of the Day

McDonald’s Collaboration With BTS

Here’s What Your Organization Can Learn

McDonald’s continues to be the gold(en arches) standard when it comes to strategic partnerships targeting Gen Z. 

Back in September 2020, the company announced a collaboration with rapper Travis Scott, marking the first time the fast food giant used a celebrity name on its menu since Michael Jordan in 1992.  The Travis Scott Meal, which was a Quarter Pounder with cheese, bacon and lettuce, medium French fries with barbecue sauce and a Sprite beverage, was only available for a month but drove the entire chain’s sales for the back half of the year. 

After the successful run with Travis Scott, McDonald’s doubled down,  announcing a new collaboration yesterday with Korean K-Pop Band, BTS. According to BBC News, The K-pop band was the top-selling act of 2020 and has 34.5 million followers on Twitter, 40 million Instagram followers and 31.8 million followers on TikTok. 

How is all this relevant to your athletic department? You may not have McDonald’s marketing budget but here are three takeaways:

  1. Don’t reinvent the wheel – My favorite part of these collaborations? There’s nothing new from a menu perspective for McDonald’s. Rather it’s just packaging a couple products together in a meal and slapping a nametag on it. A marketing tactic. For your marketing department, you may already have a huge library of great old content that just needs to be repurposed and delivered in a creative way to a new audience.
  1. Work backward from your ideal outcomes – I’m guessing there was a lot of internal strategizing before McDonald’s landed on collaborating with Gen Z artists. The fast food chain hadn’t partnered with an influencer since 1992! But if you look at what McDonald’s hoped to achieve – attracting younger customers and driving digital order with discounts – teaming up with popular artists makes plenty of sense. Whether it’s a new marketing campaign or a sponsorship activation, your organization should work backward from the ideal outcome to ensure you have the right process in place to meet those outcomes.
  1. Leveraging existing audiences is often better than organic growth – We live in a society where the loyalty to brands and creators has never been higher. Rather than try and organically grow a Gen Z following which have involved heavily investing in digital production and creating new content, McDonalds realized it could tap into the massive followings of these artists through strategic partnerships. Your department probably can’t get Travis Scott or BTS to promote your school, but can you leverage audiences of your famous alumni?  

If you want to read more about strategies to attract Gen Z, my colleague Charles addressed the topic in the latest Chatting Sports Tech article. Check it out!

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