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McDonald's get push back over Cardi B promotion. How unwoke!

Cardi B has been an outspoken Biden and Dem supporter. She did a big shout-out for Colin Kaepernick at the MTV awards. She's also committed to helping stamp out obesity by partnering with Mickey Ds.. Mcdonald's has done more to help minorities improve nutrition than anyone I can think of, short of Coke and Pepsi.

Would her sponsorship be enough to make me stop frequenting that purveyor of sludge? No, I wouldn't eat that sh-t anyway*.

* Except they're Egg McMuffin. I love those!

McDonald’s Cardi B and Offset Promotion Draws Pushback From Some Restaurant Owners

Some McDonald’s locations are not promoting hip hop stars’ new meal, franchisees say

By Heather Haddon, WSJ

Feb. 28, 2023 2:40 pm ET

McDonald’s MCD 0.22%increase; green up pointing triangle Corp.’s celebrity-sponsored meals, which have generated strong sales for the chain, are drawing criticism from franchisees who say some of the artists don’t reflect the company’s values.

Some U.S. McDonald’s restaurant owners have raised concerns over the chain’s collaborations with celebrities including rappers Cardi B and Offset, according to franchisees and email messages to other owners and the company that were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Some owners said a number of McDonald’s locations have declined to promote the current Cardi B and Offset meal, because of concerns about being associated with the artists.

In messages sent to the U.S. division in recent weeks, several McDonald’s franchisees said that the artists’ lyrics and lifestyles aren’t aligned with the company’s brand. Some owners wrote that the chosen celebrities could erode McDonald’s family-friendly image, and urged other franchisees to remove advertising and merchandise associated with the Cardi B and Offset meal in their stores.

It couldn’t be determined how many of McDonald’s more than 1,000 franchise owners were declining to promote the meal, or agreed that they were unsuitable for the brand.

McDonald’s said Tuesday that the chain has received widespread support and excitement from owners and their restaurant employees regarding the Cardi B and Offset meal. The company said the couple’s promotion was meant to focus on love and celebrating special moments.

“Across our marketing, we’re focused on putting McDonald’s at the center of culture,” McDonald’s U.S. Chief Marketing Officer Tariq Hassan said in a statement.

Representatives for Cardi B and Offset didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

McDonald’s “Famous Orders” meals, which typically combine a handful of celebrity-handpicked menu items in promotional packaging, have been among the burger chain’s most successful marketing endeavors in recent years, executives have said. The meals’ introduction in 2020 helped the company recover U.S. sales lost at the Covid-19 pandemic’s outset, and capture business from other burger chains, Wall Street analysts and the company have said.

The celebrity-backed meals largely draw on McDonald’s existing menu, adding sales without increasing complexity in restaurants, according to McDonald’s. They also helped the chain drive more online orders and app downloads, one of the company’s priorities, executives have said.

“Nothing had a greater impact on our digital business than the introduction of this program last year,” McDonald’s U.S. president Joe Erlinger said in a 2021 investor call.

U.S. franchisees have praised the meals for delivering sales, but some have raised concerns over celebrities chosen for the promotions. Sixty-five percent of U.S. franchisees said they didn’t support McDonald’s 2020 collaboration with hip-hop artist Travis Scott when it was announced, according to an August 2020 internal survey of 730 operators, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The survey was conducted by the National Owners Association, which represents a subset of McDonald’s franchisees and has roughly 1,000 members.

Mr. Scott was the first celebrity to be featured on McDonald’s menu since basketball star Michael Jordan in 1992, according to the company. Morgan Flatley, the chain’s U.S. chief marketing officer at the time Mr. Scott’s meal was launched, said it helped McDonald’s draw younger customers, and that it exceeded sales expectations. Ms. Flatley, now the chain’s global chief marketing officer, said at the time that McDonald’s was pushing itself to go beyond its traditional comfort zone with the Travis Scott campaign.

A representative for Mr. Scott didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

McDonald’s has since introduced meals with musicians BTS, Saweetie and J Balvin. The chain’s Cactus Plant Flea Market partnership to sell so-called Adult Happy Meals boosted McDonald’s U.S. sales in the three months ended Dec. 31, the company said in an earnings call in January.

Other restaurant chains have also inked celebrity deals. Dunkin’ ran a 2020 promotion tied to TikTok star Charli D’Amelio and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. offered a bowl tied to Canadian pop singer Shawn Mendes in 2021. Burger King released meals tied to rapper Nelly and two other stars later in 2021.

In February, McDonald’s introduced its first meal backed by a celebrity couple, with the chain promoting bundles of food selected by Cardi B and Offset with special packaging. The company announced the meal meant for sharing during the Super Bowl, promoting a cheeseburger with BBQ sauce and a Coke for Cardi B and a Quarter Pounder with cheese and Hi-C Orange Lavaburst for Offset. It also comes with large fries and an apple pie.

Cardi B, a Grammy-winning rapper, has stirred controversy over the explicit content of some of her lyrics and videos, particularly her 2020 hit “WAP,” and she and Offset have collaborated on several songs. After the meal’s announcement, some U.S. McDonald’s operators relayed their concerns to the company, according to messages viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Some operators have questioned whether the celebrity tie-ins could conflict with the company’s brand standards and franchisee rules. The company’s Golden Arches Code for marketing states that promotions and branding shouldn’t include “musical partnerships associated with content that includes offensive language in the lyrics,” according to a copy of the document reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

They also shouldn’t include promotions with brands that feature unsavory content or movies with sex and violence, the document stated.

McDonald’s said that how its brand is represented in public is a top priority. “We’re always thoughtful in what we post on McDonald’s channels and careful to avoid language that might offend,” the company said.

The company said the Cardi B and Offset meal has driven excitement for the brand, including on social media.

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