McDonald's Celebrity Meals, Then And Now

McDonald's has always found creative approaches to promote its brand, from odd merchandise like Quarter Pounder Candles to inescapable jingles and even Bacon Hour. But with celebrity meals, McDonald's has really hit upon something priceless: selling customers the chance to eat as their favorite pop culture icons do.


Since 2020, celebrity meals have become a pillar of McDonald's marketing strategy — and its profitability — though the experiment began a lot earlier than that. Here's look back at all the celebrity meals that have caused traffic jams at the drive-thru.

1992: McJordan Special

Released in 1992, but mostly limited to participating locations in the Chicagoland area, this special tribute to MVP Michael Jordan is arguably McDonald's first true celebrity meal. The McJordan Special featured a Quarter Pounder with American cheese, circular bacon (designed to fit perfectly over the burger patty), mustard, pickles, onions, and a new barbecue sauce created exclusively for the burger. 


For anyone longing for a taste of vintage Bulls glory, the McJordan is fairly easy to recreate in the 21st century, as long as you don't mind using regular bacon strips and McDonald's everyday Tangy Barbecue sauce.

September 2020: The Travis Scott Meal

On September 3, 2020, McDonald's announced a partnership with artist Travis Scott, calling the collaboration "unprecedented" — and it certainly was a first. Whereas the McJordan special had been a featured menu item, the Scott partnership took things to the next level: Along with cross-branded merch and joint charity efforts, Scott's team-up with McDonald's included the Travis Scott Meal featuring Cactus Jack's signature order. It featured Sprite, fries with barbecue sauce for dipping, and a Quarter Pounder with cheese, shredded lettuce, and bacon. 


The meal cost $6 and, combined with merch sales, resulted in massive sales figures and even some burger shortages. Unfortunately, it also meant that McDonald's employees had to suffer through some drive-thru shenanigans as customers blasted "Sicko Mode" into the speaker.

October 2020: The J Balvin Meal

Hot on the heels of the Travis Scott partnership, McDonald's announced just one month later that it would be partnering with famed Colombian performer and "Prince of Reggaeton" J Balvin. This meal consisted of a Big Mac, medium fries with ketchup, and an Oreo McFlurry — the latter of which caused some raised eyebrows among McDonald's customers, who were quick to point out that the McFlurry machines are always broken.


Fans who ordered the official merchandise released alongside the J Balvin Meal were later informed that they would not be receiving their orders due to ongoing supply chain issues (which were rampant during that period of the pandemic). Along with a full refund, fans were issued a consolation beanie and a note from J Balvin himself.

May 2021: The BTS Meal

As McDonald's hit its stride with celebrity meal rollouts, it is only natural that the brand set its sights on the biggest sensation in modern music: Korean pop group BTS. The highly anticipated BTS Meal included a 10-piece Chicken McNugget meal with medium fries, a medium Coke, and two special dipping sauces: Sweet Chili and Cajun. The two sauces were not previously available in the U.S., and because of their novelty, they were the standout items in the meal.


August 2021: The Saweetie Meal

"If you know Saweetie, you know she likes to put her own spin on all her favorite foods to create unique combinations and flavors," read a McDonald's press release announcing its latest celebrity meal. That's why the Saweetie Meal — which included a Big Mac, 4-piece Chicken McNuggets, medium fries, medium Sprite, Tangy BBQ Sauce, and "Saweetie 'N Sour" sauce — was presented as an opportunity for customers to create their own mix-and-match creations. And because McDonald's celebrity meals had by this point established themselves as a springboard to even more purchases, a line of McDonald's x Saweetie merch soon followed.


December 2021: The Mariah Carey Menu

Given the singer's status as the ultimate diva of Christmas, it was no shock when McDonald's announced Mariah Carey would be the face of not just a celebrity meal, but an entire holiday menu. The Mariah Menu consisted of 12 days' worth of McDonald's classics, each of which the singer claims to love ordering; the Big Mac, McChicken, McDouble, McDonald's cinnamon roll, McDonald's apple pie, and a six-piece McNugget order were all included in the rollout.


February 2023: The Cardi B and Offset Meal

After a 2022 devoid of celebrity meals — the company presumably had to instead make room for other high-profile promotions like Adult Happy Meals and Boo Buckets — McDonald's returned to the format in February 2023 with a Super Bowl commercial announcing the Cardi B and Offset Meal. It dropped on Valentine's Day to celebrate all the meals we share with our sweethearts.


The meal itself, with enough food for two, includes Cardi B's preferred order (a cheeseburger, Tangy BBQ Sauce, and large Coke) and Offset's favorites (Quarter Pounder with Cheese and a large Hi-C Orange Lavaburst), plus a large order of fries and an apple pie to share. As McDonald's points out in its surprisingly effective Super Bowl ad, knowing someone's order is a sign of love.