Adweek Podcast: Love in McDonald's With Cardi B and Offset

The brand's vp of U.S. marketing gives us a taste of the evolving Famous Orders strategy

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If you’ve stuck with Yeah, That’s Probably an Ad over the years, you’ll know there’s one ongoing QSR strategy that often leaves us hungry for more: McDonald’s Famous Orders campaign. It’s the celebrity-wrapped gift that keeps on giving, both in terms of food and significant cultural moments.

Good news for anyone with similarly large appetites: On Valentine’s Day, the brand launched the Cardi B and Offset Meal, a double-headlined effort aimed at couples (or those who are just really hungry).

The full meal is a blend of each rapper’s favorite items: Cardi B’s classic cheeseburger, paired with tangy barbecue sauce and a large Coke; Offset’s Quarter Pounder with cheese and a large Hi-C Orange Lavaburst; and large fries and apple pie to share.

The campaign was first teased during Super Bowl 57 with an intimate spot starring the hip-hop power couple and featuring a number of real romantic pairs. The follow-up ad, created by Wieden+Kennedy New York, centered on Cardi and Offset as they describe their dream date, which involves a stretch limo, furs and at least one gold-plated Big Mac candle (which is not included in the meal, but stylish nonetheless).

Today, McDonald’s released a line of associated merch to complement the meal, keeping in step with past partnerships featuring BTS, Mariah Carey, streetwear label Cactus Plant Flea Market and others. The line features a range of T-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts and hats with images of the couple and recognizable Cardi B phrases.

McDonald’s / Wieden+Kennedy New York

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The campaign builds on what McDonald’s vp of U.S. marketing, brand content and engagement Jennifer “JJ” Healan calls its “fan truths” strategy, which centers on globally shared experiences. The Cardi B and Offset Meal trades on the idea that all tightly connected duos, romantic or otherwise, know the ins and outs of their counterpart’s go-to McDonald’s orders—a fact that points to the ubiquitous nature of the brand and its iconic menu.

“Knowing your special person’s McDonald’s order is a true sign of love,” Healan told Adweek on this special episode of Yeah, That’s Probably an Ad. “So then how do we unlock the feelings that people have about the brand? Knowing that Cardi B and Offset’s love of the brand, celebrating them as a couple, it all came together in such a really unique way that we hadn’t done before.”

In a separate statement, Tariq Hassan, chief marketing and customer experience officer for McDonald’s USA, noted the deeper culture surrounding the dating habits that involve the brand: “Whether it’s splitting a McFlurry with a crush on a first date, or surprising a best friend with their favorite order after a tough day, McDonald’s is part of the culture of how we show love to each other. Even an iconic couple like Cardi B and Offset have a date night tradition at McDonald’s going back years that they wanted to share a little piece of for all of our fans to experience.”

Healan shared some of the special sauce that went into this particular love feast, the small details that intrinsically tie the campaign to its stars, and what it means to hand fans the reins and let them guide the brand to culture.

Stream the new episode below, listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or find it on Spotify.