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Fast Food Influencer Marketing Strategies Setting Trends

Sep 26, 2021

In such a fast-paced, technology-based society, staying relevant is at the forefront of many companies’ minds, especially in the food industry. 

As an effort to draw in new business, as well as keep long-term customers intrigued, many businesses have taken an approach surrounding influencer marketing. Fast-food giants such as McDonald’s and Burger King are no exception.

One of the first celebrity-endorsed meals, paving the way for current influencer marketing, was the McDonald’s McJordan, named after Micheal Jordan in 1992. A return of this tactic hit in October of 2020 when Mcdonald’s released the Travis Scott meal. 

His featured meal took the internet by storm. On social media platforms, such as Tik Tok and Instagram, videos spread of people reviewing and supporting the meal. Some even played the popular Travis Scott song “Astroworld” at the drive-through window, establishing a viral trend. 

“McDonald’s definitely does lots of research before they choose the star to determine if 9/10 people would like their meal,” said Jesse Theirl, Business. “From there, they really played into their market to ensure that people will come to try it, as well as stay competitive in their space.” 

After proving that influencer marketing is more than successful at drawing in business from a variety of crowds, this has become a norm in the quick-service food industry. Since last fall, McDonald’s has launched celebrity meals endorsed by J Balvin, BTS, and most recently, rapper Saweetie.

The Saweetie meal includes a Big Mac, a four-piece Chicken McNugget, fries, and sprite paired with Tangy BBQ and limited edition Saweetie N’ Sour sauce.

Burger King, who is also jumping onto the influencer marketing trend has partnered up with three musicians/influencers to create custom meals.

“I think that Burger King is getting into this a little late, but if it works for your competitors why not?” Said Thierl. “In any field, people would say to work smarter not harder, if someone is doing something really well and it’s working; steal it and make it yours”.

One crucial element of Burgers King’s campaign is that the influencers used their real names, instead of their stage names, to tie into the brand’s “Keep It Real” campaign. Their new program will ban 120 artificial ingredients from their menu.

“People are much more educated now on what is in their food and tend to stray away from certain things. So I think the more Burger King advertises simpler foods, people will like the company for that” Said Theirl.

Now that Americans are far more conscious of what goes into their food, this Burger King announcement will lead them to even more success in their future. 

The Chase Hudson meal, features a Spicy Ch’King with cheese, a four-piece order of mozzarella sticks paired with a chocolate shake. Though more commonly known as Lil Huddy, he has 33.2 million TikTok followers, who opened the door for his music career and endorsements.

Popular American rapper, singer-songwriter, Nelly, is in on the action too. The Cornell Haynes Jr meal includes a flame-grilled whopper with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mayo, and ketchup, with a small order of fries and small sprite.

The Larissa Machado meal includes an Impossible whipper with lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, and mustard, again paired with a small fry and sprite. You also may know her by the name of Anitta, the Brazilian singer with 55.7 million Instagram followers. 

Visible through the selection of influencers chosen to represent Burger King, it is apparent that they are attempting to intrigue a variety of people from diverse age groups and backgrounds. From a popular teenage social media star, to a legend in the rap community, to an international icon, Burger King is making wise selections to stay fun and relevant in the eyes of many. 

“So many athletes and influencers have been endorsing products for so many years, they’re just taking it to the next level. There’s enough curiosity to recognize that the meals are something different but because people’s favorite celebrities eat it, they’ll jump on it” Said Theirl.

The increase of influencer marketing being utilized in big corporations has brought nothing but success and prosperity to the fast-food market; once again proving that social media has no limits.


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