Fast-food celebrity collaborations, explained

Celeb collabs are a great way for fast-food chains to drive app downloads and appeal to Gen-Z.

All Canadian (Source: NYT / Tim Hortons)

Fast-food celebrity collaborations, explained

Canadians — like me (Trung) — rejoice.

The country’s top coffee chain (Tim Hortons) collaborated with one of its top pop artists (Justin Bieber) on a product.

It’s a donut hole, called Timbiebs.

This isn’t the only celebrity collab…

… you’ll be seeing this winter. According to The New York Times, fast-food chains are falling over themselves to score the fame halo:

  • McDonald’s partnered with Mariah Carey on “12 days of Christmas deals,” including Big Macs and cookies
  • Dunkin’ teamed up with TikTok megastar Charli D’Amelio on her favorite cold brew
  • Popeyes launched a “hottie” hot sauce with hip-hop artist Meg Thee Stallion

Celebs have lended corporate endorsements for ages…

… but there’s a modern twist

One of the key outcomes of fast-food collabs is to drive app downloads. Since teaming up with celebs on meal campaigns in September 2020 — including BTS and Travis Scott — McDonald’s has brought in 10m+ app users.

Apps double as loyalty programs and are — very obviously — popular among the younger generation. Unsurprisingly, the collaborations often end up as viral hits on Gen-Z hangouts like Instagram and TikTok.

Critics say that celebs are using their fame to push unhealthy foods. While it’s a valid charge, the almond-crusted bnmn m n `jm chocolate Timbieb I’m eating right now is pretty good.

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