McDonald’s franchisees are reportedly miffed about the fast-food giant’s meal partnership with rappers Cardi B and Offset – with some opting not to promote the campaign at all due to fears of negative publicity.
An unspecified number of restaurant owners have contacted McDonald’s corporate wing to express concern that the married stars – the latest to be featured in the company’s “Famous Orders” campaign – could hurt their “family-friendly image,” The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
The irritated franchisees argue that “Migos” member Offset and Cardi B lead lifestyles and release music that are at odds with McDonald’s brand. Both artists have drawn scrutiny for the explicit content of their lyrics, such as Cardi B’s 2020 hit song “WAP.”
Some of the owners have reportedly pushed their fellow franchisees to join them in removing ads and merchandise related to the campaign.
McDonald’s began promoting the “Cardi B & Offset Meal” as a limited-time offering to coincide with Valentine’s Day. The meal features a classic cheeseburger with BBQ sauce and a large Coca-Cola, a quarter-pounder with cheese and a large Hi-C Orange Lavaburst, a large order of French fries and an apple pie, according to the company’s website.
The Journal noted that it was unclear how many of the more than 1,000 franchisees under McDonald’s wing were refusing to go along with the promotion.
McDonald’s pushed back on the internal criticism, noting the feedback it has received the collaboration with the rappers was generating support and excitement among its franchisees.
“Across our marketing, we’re focused on putting McDonald’s at the center of culture,” McDonald’s U.S. Chief Marketing Officer Tariq Hassan said in a statement to the Journal.
The Post has reached out to McDonald’s for further comment.
The couple didn’t not return requests for comment when contacted by The Journal.
McDonald’s shares were flat in trading Tuesday.
McDonald’s has leaned heavily on celebrity-endorsed combo meals to boost sales at its restaurants in recent years. The company has also had partnerships with other musicians, including Travis Scott, Saweetie, J Balvin and BTS.
But the deal with Cardi B and Offset isn’t the first to unsettle McDonald’s restauranteurs.
A 2020 survey of 730 McDonald’s US franchisees found that 65% were opposed to the company’s partnership with Scott, according to the report.
The company’s internal marketing guidelines reportedly include a clause that McDonald’s promotions should not use “musical partnerships associated with content that includes offensive language in the lyrics.”