Why Fast Food Chains Really Want You To Wear Their Swag

McDonald's just released a new lineup of fried chicken sandwiches (read our review here), and to coincide with the release, it also dropped some fried chicken sandwich merch to go along with it. Sorry, everyone, it's already sold out. But it's not just your eagle eyes noticing that there's lots of fast food swag these days—there's a lot out there.

CNN has been keeping track of at least a few. (So have we!) I can't believe I'm about to type the next part of this sentence, but Chipotle has partnered with a 12-year-old TikTok star for its latest batch of merch; this kid's name is Roy Murray and he's also known as the "Chipotle Is My Life Kid." Suddenly I feel like I'm a thousand years old because I have no idea what is happening in the world right now. Chipotle took a screenshot of the viral video and put it on T-shirts, as well as some long-sleeve shirts with the quote running down the arms. This is a limited edition clothing launch for its Chipotle Goods branded clothing and accessory collection.


This video lives in our head rent free. #chipotle #chipotleismylife #viral #trending #fyp

♬ omg I love chipotle by roy murray – Chipotle

I'm proud of you, Roy, for landing on a Chipotle shirt and getting a burrito bowl designed in your honor. That is more than some adults achieve in decades.

And another brand, Dunkin', is going all-in with wedding stuff, since weddings have gotten all sorts of fucked up due to the pandemic. There's shirts and mugs with little wedding jokes on them, all Dunkin'ized for your enjoyment. But why is fast food apparel so popular lately?

Well, basically, it's exactly what you might suspect: free advertising. Or rather, better than free, because you pay to wear it. It keeps you thinking about the brands and how much you like them as you're out and about in your fried chicken sandwich hoodie, sippin' from a sassy wedding-themed Dunkin' cup, watching Chipotle's TikTok feed in your other hand. When you open up your dresser drawer and see Roy Murray's face, you might think, "Hey, I know what I'm having for lunch today." And if someone else sees you in that shirt, they'll start thinking about lunch, too. Why wouldn't a fast food chain release a clothing line?