Photo: Jerritt Clark / Courtesy of McDonald’s Corporation

The trend, which has gone viral on TikTok, is the best free marketing McDonald’s could hope for

In an ingenious — or cynical — twist of brand synergy, the hottest celeb merch in the country right now is a regular $6 McDonald’s combo, better known these days as the “Travis Scott Meal.” The limited-time collaboration between the fast-food chain and Scott, consisting of the rapper’s favorite burger, fries, and drink order, has become a bona fide craze, to the point where special employee shirts and posters ripped from McDonald’s windows are being listed on eBay for ridiculous prices.

It’s the kind of word-of-mouth buzz that marketers dream of; as New York Times critic Jon Caramanica writes, “a way to advertise to young people without all the burdens and potential misfires of actually advertising to young people.” The hype is certainly bolstered, in large part, by a growing TikTok trend, in which youths, hip-hop fans, and fast-food aficionados alike record themselves pulling up to the McDonald’s drive-thru and, in response to the worker’s polite greeting, simply stating some variation of, “You know what I want,” often accompanied by the signature opening blare of Scott’s song “Sicko Mode.”

@daybydako

No McDonald’s employees were harmed in the making of this #QuickRecipes

♬ SiCkO mOdE has her apparently – brookegrenz

The joke format, as well as the workers’ often deadpan responses after presumably hearing the same shit dozens of times per shift, have been replicated and parodied, turned into a meme that also functions as the best kind of advertising: one that is both free and organic, as likely to prompt a comment or a share as it is to drive social media users to hit up their own local McDonald’s in search of that viral engagement. A perfect feedback loop of consumption.

@sandybepsycho

Reply to @aideeleana Grandma approves of the Travis Scott Burger! #fyp #foryou #travisscott #travisscottburger #mcdonalds

♬ original sound – sandybepsycho

Ordering a Travis Scott burger is your own prerogative, but please, if you’re going to record overworked fast-food workers’ reactions for internet clout, at least do them the courtesy of following these simple suggestions:

  1. Turn your volume down before blasting “Sicko Mode” so you’re not destroying their eardrums through their headsets
  2. Don’t record their faces or identifiable information without their permission
  3. Be quick about it, as drive-thru order fulfillment is typically timed
  4. Wear a face mask when picking up your order
  5. Maybe throw them an extra buck or two for their trouble
  6. Say thank you

Basically, stay safe, have fun, and don’t be an asshole!!!

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