By Allison Prang and Heather Haddon 

McDonald's Corp. is adding a marketing deal with reggaeton artist J Balvin after a buzzy collaboration with rapper Travis Scott, aiming to add younger diners to its clientele.

The burger giant said a meal bearing J Balvin's name -- a Big Mac, fries and ketchup and an Oreo McFlurry -- would be on sale from Monday through Nov. 1. The collaboration with Mr. Scott -- the meal was a Quarter Pounder with cheese, lettuce and bacon, fries with barbecue sauce and a Sprite -- -ended on Sunday.

McDonald's said the partnerships mark the first times in almost three decades that it put a celebrity's name on its menu. The last celebrity to be featured was basketball icon Michael Jordan, who lent his name to a McJordan meal in 1992.

More recently, McDonald's and other big fast-food brands have struggled to tap into the zeitgeist. McDonald's U.S. guest counts fell in the last two years. Less than 4% of McDonald's U.S. consumers in the last year were members of Generation Z, or born after 1995, according to consumer research firm Numerator.

Morgan Flatley, McDonald's U.S. chief marketing officer, said that the partnerships are helping the company stay relevant with younger customers. Ms. Flatley said sales for the Travis Scott meal exceeded expectations but declined to discuss specifics. She said restaurants in some parts of the U.S. ran short on ingredients for Quarter Pounders after the sandwich went on sale.

McDonald's said it tapped a $100 million marketing fund earmarked to help U.S. chains recover from the coronavirus pandemic to help pay for the promotion. It spent an estimated $4 million on a Travis Scott ad that ran for 10 days on prime-time television, according to analytics firm iSpot.tv. Franchisees said they received a $2 rebate on the cost of the meal to support the promotion. It was priced at about $6, compared with a $9 total cost for each item sold individually.

J Balvin, the Colombian singer of tracks including "Mi Gente" whose real name is José Alvaro Osorio Balvin, is a major crossover star. He has more than 44.1 million followers on Instagram and roughly 16.3 billion views on YouTube. In February, he joined actress and music star Jennifer Lopez onstage during the Super Bowl halftime show.

Restaurant crews will also get T-shirts designed by Mr. Osorio Balvin.

Write to Allison Prang at allison.prang@wsj.com and Heather Haddon at heather.haddon@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 05, 2020 15:46 ET (19:46 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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