Update, October 15, 2020: It’s not just the cachet of the celebrity himself that McDonald’s hopes to capitalize on with the new J Balvin Meal—it’s the merch drops as well. McDonald’s announced today that “the Golden Arches and the global ambassador of Reggaeton are continuing to elevate their collaboration” by releasing a line of clothing and accessories. Honestly, I’m almost mad at how inventive some of this stuff is. See for yourself! There’s a Golden Arches ring, a very ’90s-looking apron, a bucket hat (still can’t quite believe those are back in style once again), and best of all, a temporary tattoo of a McDonald’s receipt itemizing the elements of the J Balvin Meal.
If you’re not into wearing your consumerism quite literally on your sleeve (or as a sleeve), you could always spend a bit more money and purchase this $150 receipt rug, which appears to come complete with a jagged ripped edge at one end. Is this the sort of investment that people are making in novelty household items? Just think of all the J Balvin Meals you could purchase with that money. If you’re willing to commit to having this rug in your house, chances are you’d gladly eat that many of them, too. Anyway, it’ll be interesting to monitor the hashtags on social media in the coming weeks to see who exactly is snapping up all this expensive merch. If it’s exclusively young people, I guess that’s a good thing, because statistics show they aren’t spending enough money.
Original post, October 6, 2020: Before McDonald’s introduced the limited-time Travis Scott Meal last month, the chain hadn’t teamed up with a celebrity on a specialty combo meal since partnering with Michael Jordan in the early 1990s. Now, with the unprecedented success of the Cactus Jack special, McDonald’s appears to have seen the light: why not design combo meals around more celebrities who come prepackaged with a rabid fan base, hungry and eager to spend? For its next trick, the fast food giant has released the J Balvin Meal, which comes with a Big Mac, medium fries, and an Oreo McFlurry.
This combo has a little less personality than the Travis Scott Meal, whose substitutions and add-ons felt customized to Scott’s real-life preferred McDonald’s order. But according to the press release, J Balvin has “always been a regular at McDonald’s restaurants during his concert tours, and now we’re excited to bring his go-to order to our menus across the U.S.”
J Balvin is a Colombian reggaeton singer with the distinction of being one of the most streamed artists in the world on Spotify—a list that also includes Travis Scott. It doesn’t take a marketing genius to predict that we might soon see a Dua Lipa Meal, or a Marshmello Meal, and that those meals would sell equally well.
But savvy customers have pointed out one potential flaw with the J Balvin Meal: it includes a McFlurry, and McDonald’s is famous for its perpetually “broken” McFlurry machines. How will it be able to keep up with demand for the combo meal? Is the chain about to cause the biggest order delays since the Szechuan Sauce debacle of 2017?